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Sounder way of snapper fishing • Softest touch: plastic techniques • Yellowbelly spring break • Perks of polarised sunnies • Cania Dam: angling paradise • Flathead Classic results •

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REGULAR FEATURES Back to Basics 18 Camping and 4WD 82 Dam Levels 76 Freshwater 76 Fun Page 106 Hotspot kayak 116 Junior Southern 40 Junior Northern 108 Kayak 118 Sheik of the Creek 111 Sunfish 104 Track My Fish 86 Tech Tricks 19 Tournament News 92 Trades and Services 112 What’s New Fishing 88 What’s New Boating 126 SPECIAL FEATURES

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Evan Zikos caught and released this cracking flathead at this year’s Flathead Classic. A Michael Fox image.


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From the outset, the process was never going to be short and sweet. At the launch, Minister Donaldson outlined a three to four year timeline of review and then wholesale change. This initial feedback was just the first step in the process. Thank you to all anglers who contributed, no matter what your opinion was. They are all valid, as are all of your concerns. I did do a few interviews before the deadline and the discussion always seemed to swing towards a Recreational Fishing Licence, even though both sides of government rule a line through the idea. Will Queensland be the last first-world state to get one and then have some funds to do good things for recreational anglers? We are on target.


Soft plastic techniques 10 Sounder way of snapper fishing 14 Summer guide to polarized sunglasses 56 Cania Dam angling paradise 74 Springtime yellowbelly 80 Basic boating triage 120

#gonefishingday to see images from the day. ZEREK BARRA TOUR. GO! You read about it a few months ago in the special liftout, but as this magazine hits the shelves, the Zerek BARRA Tour is about to start. Featuring four events across three of the hottest barra lakes in the country, expect to see a congo-line of photos of big, bruising barra across social media and the pages of future magazines.

The best thing about the BARRA Tour is that it lets you barra fish in impoundments a time where the wild stocks are rightfully protected to do their thing and make thousands of baby barramundi. This is especially relevant in the three net-free zones at Cairns, Mackay and Rockhampton, where the adult barra can now move around and not get harvested on their way to spawn. GREEN PAPER FEEDBACK DONE We pushed pretty hard to get you all to have your say on the Green Paper for Fisheries management reform over the last few months. Well, the process is done now and the guys in the city are now trawling through over 11,000 responses to the document.


Whitsundays 62 Ayr 64 Townsville 65 Hinchinbrook 66 Lucinda 66 Cairns 67 Port Douglas 67 Cooktown 68 Cape York 69 Weipa 70 TNQ Freshwater 71

INAUGURAL GONE FISHING DAY Yep – we’ve finally had one! The first ever Gone Fishing Day happened on the 16 October 2016. Publicised and recognised nationally, it was a great opportunity to go and wet a line, but to take someone new and introduce them to the experience of catching a fish. With over 130 events associated with the day across the country, it was a great tool to reinforce to government that recreational fishing is as accepted and strong as it ever was, has positive social license and demands representation when policy is attacked by vocal minorities. Nearly 10,000 people registered for the day and participated in the events. You can search



From the Editor’s Desk...


Hervey Bay 46 Rainbow Beach 46 Fraser Coast 47 Lake Monduran 48 Bundaberg 48 1770 50 Gladstone 51 Rockhampton 52 Yeppoon 53 Mackay 54







Tweed Heads 24 Southern Gold Coast 26 Gold Coast Canals 28 Gold Coast 30 Jumpinpin 32 Southern Bay 34 Brisbane 36 Brisbane Offshore 38 Northern Bay 40 Caloundra 41 Noosa 42






Yamba 20 Ballina 22 Iluka 23






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Soft plastic techniques: how, when and where? BRISBANE

Sean Thompson

Soft plastics have been around for a couple of decades now and have a place in most regular and casual anglers’ tackle boxes. Unfortunately, many anglers are still not achieving the success rates they could. This is because they’re not rigging correctly, using the wrong combination of plastic and jighead, using the wrong line, action, or simply fishing them in the wrong location or stage of the tide. Consequently, I hear a

soft plastics, regardless of how often you’ve used them before. GETTING THE BASICS RIGHT To begin with, there is little point being at the right place with the wrong tackle or presentation. It’s the fishing equivalent of trying to win the Melbourne Cup riding sidesaddle on a donkey! To maximise your chances of success, there are a few basics that soft plastics anglers need to get right first. Tackle choice and presentation While an occasional hungry bream or flathead might take a poorly presented

the top of the shank of the hook, and not a standard hook for attaching your plastic. If you need more weight, use a heavier jighead and not a sinker above your jighead, or you’ll present the lure in a very unnatural fashion. Make sure the plastic is sitting straight on the jighead. If it isn’t, keep re-inserting the plastic until it is. Line the plastic up with the nose against the end of the jighead and make a little mark where the hook should come out. Rig a few jigheads and plastics up before your session, so you can quickly tie on a pre-prepared one, reducing downtime on the

Landing flatties can be a lot easier if you carry the right gear. number of casual anglers say they’ve tried soft plastics, but they don’t work. Either that or they’ve only caught one or two fish on them, and usually return to bait in frustration. The truth is, soft plastics work. Like most things in fishing, you need to adapt to the time, tide, wind, water colour and importantly the location. Your action also goes a long way to determine your success, as do factors like tackle choice and the correct presentation of your lure on the jighead. This article highlights a range of soft plastic techniques, including the how, when and where to use them. It includes basic tips for people who are new to soft plastics fishing, as well as more advanced techniques for anglers who use them more regularly, but aren’t maximising their potential. With a bit of patience and practice, hopefully these techniques will deliver you better results with your

glob of frozen bait on a heavy monofilament trace, a poorly presented soft plastic will rarely, if ever, catch you a fish. Get it right though and

You may be trekking for a while so try to keep your gear load smaller. If your lures have scents, you can pre-rig them and put them back in their bags. it’s a different story! Here are some tips to get you started and well on the way to success with your tackle choice and presentation. Only ever use jigheads, that have the weight built into

TACKLE & PRESENTATION TIPS • Always use jigheads not a sinker and hook. • Pre-rig a number of plastics and jigheads. • In-built jigheads are easier but limited in choice. • Cover your plastics in artificial scents. • Use the thinnest braid for the location and structure. • Buy reels with a spare spool for quick tackle changes. • Use graphite rods for the best action and feel. • Keep jighead weight to a minimum. • Use a fluorocarbon trace. • Reduce wind knots by reducing your trace length. 10


water. If they’re scented, you can simply place them back in their bag. Plastics with in-built jigheads and weights are also

available and easier to use, but the downside is the choice of weights tends to be limited. Regularly cover your plastic with scents to mask human smells like suncreen and enhance the taste of the plastic. This makes the fish come back again if you miss them the first time. There’s a range of soft plastic scents on the market – Pro Cure and Squidgy S Factor are popular and effective choices. Use the thinnest possible and brightly coloured braided line for the location and target species. The bright colour is to see the hits and the slack of the line as it lands on the bottom, so you know when

to pause and lift again. The bright colour makes a big difference and improved my catch rate when I got over the notion that it would put the fish off. The trace provides you with enough camouflage. When you buy a new reel, look for ones with a spare spool. If they don’t have it, order one direct from the manufacturer or distributor. This way you can quickly change spools when you’re wading the flats, rivers or estuaries and avoid having to take a whole extra reel for different species, like whiting on surface lures and flathead on plastics. Use graphite rods to get the best action from the lure and to feel hits transferred to the tip of the rod from the braid. Fibreglass rods might catch you fish, but they lack the sensitivity of graphite and will cost you many more. If you feel a bump with your graphite rod, strike! This is usually the fish closing its mouth on the lure. Your jighead weight should be as light as possible for the location and tide. At the top of the tide, always reduce the weight of your jighead to get the most realistic natural action possible from the lure. Always tie a fluorocarbon trace to your braided line as this is less visible to the fish than brightly coloured braid. Fluorocarbon line is also preferable to monofilament as the refractive qualities mean it’s extremely difficult to see underwater. To reduce the chance of wind knots, ensure your fluorocarbon trace is about a rod length, but not much longer. A top tip I was given recently is to make sure your connecting trace knot is above your bottom runner as you cast. Otherwise, when the knot comes in contact with the large bottom guide, even if it passes through, the leader will slow down while the line coming off the spool will still be moving at a speed that will tangle the line. Also make sure you follow through with your cast by pointing your rod tip toward the lure to assist the line coming off the spool as smoothly as possible. THE STRIKE! Now you have the basics of tackle choice and presentation right. Before we move onto particular locations and methods, let’s consider the strike. The strike is very important when using a soft plastic. When you strike, lift the rod straight up. The aim of the strike is to hook the fish in the top jaw. Strike, then keep the rod up and stay tight to the lure. Don’t lift your rod up then drop it down slack – this will pull the lure out of the fish’s mouth like a rubber band! When fighting the fish, make sure you keep a nice

Use graphite rods for the best action and feel. bend in the rod to ensure the line is tight. The fish won’t get any loose line or slack that might allow it to shake the lure free. Finally, check your leader for any scuffs after every fish and replace the leader if necessary. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! Just like buying real estate, soft plastic fishing is all about location, but there’s more to it. Particular techniques work better in some locations than others, and will vary according to the tide in the same location. Here are the actions and

techniques that have worked for me in different locations and stages of the tide. Flats and shore-based Shore-based soft plastic fishing is one of my favourite techniques. It has a lot more challenges and it gives you that feeling of freedom with your feet planted on terra firma, on the sand flats or shore of a river, lake or estuary. While you may have done some pre-planning at home on Google Earth, you don’t have all your modern technology with you or ability to quickly motor off from spot to spot – it’s just

Anglers are sometimes frustrated by results on soft plastics. A few tips can help you maximise your chances.

you, the water and the fish. You’re now relying on your senses and instinct to find fish, and that’s why I love it so much. Importantly, when you’re land-based and restricted with how far you can go, you need to be comfortable. You want to make sure you keep your weight down in terms of the gear you lug with you.

you want to be targeting the entrance of drains, creeks, drop-offs, the edges of weedbeds or even small sand patches amongst the weed. The latter locations are where a pair of quality polaroid lenses come in very handy. Spotter’s Penetrator lenses are perfect to spot underwater structure, even in low light or overcast conditions as the

rod tip ends up at about two o’clock, or 70-80°, then drop the tip and watch the braid until the plastic sinks and hits the bottom again. Pause, take up the slack and go again. If you get a short fast peck peck peck, it’s probably a bream, not the cleaner chomp or take of a flathead. If I miss a hit like this, I use faster shorter lifts or hops

Using a colourful braid won’t scare off the fish, but it will help you spot the hook-up. Use the thinnest braid possible for the location and structure. The less weight you carry, the more enjoyable it is and the longer you’re going to be prepared to fish, particularly in locations where you might be several hundred metres from shore on the flats or estuary. In terms of rod and reel, lighter is better when you’re walking and casting for a few hours. A 1000-2000 size reel and 6’6”-7’ high

lenses adjust to varying light conditions. Top or bottom of the tide With tidal movement slowing right down at the top or bottom of the tide, you can use lighter weight jigheads, but also a simple cast and retrieve method. Every soft plastics angler has their own particular method, but the key thing to emphasise in any location is to use your wrist

Always use jigheads, not a sinker and hook. In-built jigheads are easier to use, but limited in choice. modulus graphite rod is light and perfect for this situation. Apart from that, all I carry is a Lox shoulder bag with my lures, jigheads, braid scissors, scents and water, a few snaps and an Alvey Deluxe wading bag for any fish – it also fits a ruler, long nose pliers, rag and more. I’ve started attaching to my bait belt or waders a light weight Wilson landing net, which is perfect for landing flathead or bigger fish out in the water and saves you wading back several hundred metres to shore to land them. The spots you should be targeting from the shore will depend on your species, but if you’re after flathead,

to impart the action, not your shoulder or arm, or you’ll soon end up very sore after hundreds of casts! When chasing flathead, bream or fish like grunter from the flats at this stage of the tide, use the three lifts and drop method. This means, cast out and wait for the lure to hit the bottom and then watch the bright coloured braid go slack and form a bow in the line as the jighead hits the bottom. Pause for a couple of seconds before taking up the slack or bow in the line by pointing the rod tip at the water and winding your reel. Then use your wrist to impart three short lifts or hops, so that the

with my wrist. This seems to excite the bream and they hit again. A coating of artificial scent also helps here with fish coming back for more. I reapply scent every 6-8 casts. As flathead are a schooling fish, if you catch a couple, keep peppering the same area with casts. You’ll normally get a few more fish and often the big female. I like to return any flathead over 65cm as these are the big breeders. Mid tide When the tide picks up, say in the third and fourth hour of the tide, your shorebased technique should change, especially in an area where the current passes through strongly. In these circumstances, you can still use relatively light jigheads, between 1/8-1/6oz for flathead in the shallows, but cast the plastic in the direction that the current is coming from. Then, use your wrist to lift the plastic up with the current and use your rod to hold it up in the current for 3-4 seconds, then drop your rod and let it sink. Walk along a few steps. Repeat until the lure is past you where you should retrieve it and cast against the current again. This technique can be deadly! SOFT PLASTICS FROM A BOAT Many anglers might have thrown out a soft plastic as they’ve drifted along in an estuary or reef. The set and forget technique as you drift along can have limited success, but there are so many more tactics you can adopt that will increase your returns if you use the right gear, techniques and fish the right tides. To page 12



From page 11

Drifting from a boat There are a couple of ways you can successfully drift your plastics from a boat. One method is to cast your plastic at your respective target area and retrieve it back to your boat using the lift and drop technique in shallower water, or a fast whipping of the rod, which is particularly effective in deeper areas. If you can, use the wind to your advantage by casting with it. There are numerous places you can target with plastics in a bay, river or estuary with these methods. These include the edges of drop-offs, rock walls, oyster leases, fallen trees, creek mouths, sand patches amongst weed beds and man-made structure such as bridge pylons and boat pontoons. When drifting, try and cast over clean water that the boat hasn’t drifted over to reduce the chances of fish being spooked. A huge advantage for soft plastic anglers drifting in a boat is the use of an electric motor. As you approach your target area, you can turn off the outboard motor and sneak up to your spot quietly with the electric. The electric motor also allows you to manoeuvre around quietly at your spot, and back to the top of your drift. Newer electric motors also come with the option of spot lock, to keep you on a

particular spot. This is a useful anchoring technique. Over reef or rocky ground, use your sounder to find the fish and structure. Start a drift that will use the current and take you over the structure. Here you can cast in front of the boat, work beside the boat and retrieve. Alternatively, you can cast your rod diagonally behind the boat and let it bounce along and drift, particularly mid tide when there’s a bit of run. This can also be an option in the estuary or river, if you’ve got someone on board who wants to take the less active approach to soft plastics fishing! In deep water, if fish are showing on the sounder, a useful technique is to drift and jig and drop the plastic vertically using sufficiently weighted jigheads. Anchoring with soft plastics One of the less used soft plastics techniques is to anchor and fan cast lightly weighted plastics around structure in the two hour period around the turn of the tide, when the tidal run slows. Essentially, the technique involves sounding around reef areas of the bay or offshore using structure or side scan technology to find fish. If the fish aren’t there, move – simple as that. The key is that the techniques

Fishing the right tides and locations will keep you a happy angler. are not time dependant, but rather tide dependant, so that means we catch fish regularly in gentleman’s hours. The tide rule of twelfths dictates

that only 1/12ths and 2/12ths respectively of the tide movement occurs in the first and second last hours of the run-out, and the first and

second hours of the run-in tide. This smaller movement is when we anchor down current from the tide and structure and cast very lightly weighted jigheads from 1/8-1/4oz up current and let it flutter down to the structure. Very regularly the fish will hit the lure on the first drop with this technique. The same method can be employed if you have spot lock on your electric motor to hold you in place, with the advantage of not having to drop an anchor. By way of example, we practised these techniques in Moreton Bay on a weekday with less boat traffic and we caught 10-15 snapper per person at times using these techniques. Trolling with plastics Another less common technique for fishing with soft plastics is trolling. This is particularly effective during the mid-tide period when the tide can be running too fast for the cast and retrieve technique. There are two main areas you can employ this technique. Both require a boat with a relatively shallow draft. Firstly, trolling plastics works in calm shallow bays over mud or sand flats in 2-3ft of water. Curly-tail or t-tail grubs are perfect for trolling in these areas. These should be trolled on light jigheads of

around 1/8oz, not too light or they’ll skip along the surface. The rods can be left in the rod holders, letting the tails do all the action. This is a great technique in winter and early spring as the shallower water is warmed from the sun. The other area for trolling plastics is fast shallow water towards river mouths or estuary entrances during the mid tide stage. Soft plastic shads, fish and t-tails are good for this technique. Use jigheads of 1/8-1/4oz depending on the speed of the run and vary the distance of your lures. If you have an electric motor, drop them back as short as 5m, otherwise make it 10-20m back from the boat. Be sure to hold your rod and impart some action with it. If I’m driving the boat, I’ll hold the rod over my shoulder and give it four or five gentle jerks from the horizontal to 90° above my shoulder and slowly drop the lures back again, keeping the line tight. There is so much more anglers can learn about soft plastic fishing, but I hope this article will get you started or improve your success, if you’re a regular soft plastics user. For more tips, information, reports and giveaways, check out my Facebook page, Ontour Fishing Australia. In the meantime, bag your mates – not your limit!

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Sounder way of snapper fishing QFM

John Adams

Pink snapper are a highly prized, sought after fish. They’re distributed around the Australian coast, commonly caught from the Gascoyne region of Western Australia to South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, and right up the southern coasts of Queensland. Here are some tips about snapper and how to use your sounder to improve your catch rate. Fishing from the shore,

large numbers, sometimes between 1000-2000 fish – the size of these fish schools can mislead people into thinking that snapper numbers are healthy. What needs to be considered is that these fish may have travelled long distances, from a wide area, and this does not necessary mean there’s a lot of them out there. SHALLOW WATER SNAPPER SCHOOL An observant fisher can sometimes spot dense schools of pink snapper finning around in the shallows, close to the shore

commonly found in the vicinity of coral bottoms, where they gather in large schools to spawn. A single mature breeding snapper can release thousands of eggs in a season. Most of these eggs will not survive due to natural mortality. When large fish aggregations occur, the food source is quickly depleted and fish become ferociously hungry. This makes them easy to catch, but can result in pressures on the fish stocks from overfishing. A very hungry super school of snapper can also do damage to mussel stocks.

The author with a cracker fish. from kayaks, or from deep blue water boats, anglers have the opportunity to catch pink snapper. They’re found in a wide range of water depths, from the shallow waters of estuary bays and inlets to the deep waters of the continental shelf, where fishers may see large schools finning just below the surface. HEALTH OF SNAPPER STOCKS Snapper aggregate in

in estuary bays and inlets. These fishers spot them by looking for what look like patches of black seaweed with a slight tinge of blue. This colour is created by the fishes pink body color and the sprinkling of iridescent blue spots on their backs. SNAPPER HOTSPOT Snapper are known to form hotspots, in both shallow and deep water locations. Snapper in deep oceanic waters are

Brad Thompson, a Western Australian mussel farmer, had an encounter with a super school of hungry pink snapper a few days before Christmas last year. The super school attacked his mussel farm, crunching through thousands of dollars of mussels and ate 15t in 10 nights – wiped out his entire Christmas stock. At times these fish can become annoying if you want to catch other types of

fish. Snapper like to get to the bait first. If this happens, all you can do is move to another spot to get away from them. SNAPPER BAIT One memorable autumn fishing trip, a group of us, including a fisher from Japan, went out fishing from Fremantle in Western Australia. On this day, we headed west 24 nautical miles from Fremantle to the 120m contour line. Fishers need the right gear and skill to catch fish at that depth. The day didn’t look good for fishing – the swell was up to 3m and the wind was southwest between 12-16 knots. It was going to be hard work to hold the bottom, and the drift would be fast, so we decided to do some long drifts over the depth contour line, and hope for the best. The bait we normally use is octopus as it’s a good bait to use at that depth and stays on the hook. Our Japanese friend brought his own bait. When we arrived on the grounds and were getting ready to bait up and drop our lines to the bottom, he pulled a large scaly mackerel from his esky. My first thought was “That won’t stay on the hook at 120m,” and my second thought was, “This bloke doesn’t understand deep water fishing.” It soon became apparent he did. I watched him delicately cut two 10cm strip baits from the side of the partly defrosted 25cm mackerel. He placed each bait on the end of a single hook, leaving the barb of the hook completely exposed. We all dropped our lines to the bottom and started the first drift. Within a few minutes, our friend was hooked up on his first fish and landed a big snapper. Our octopus bait couldn’t compete with the scaly mackerel. Mackerel bait mimics the action of a small fish when placed dangling on the end of a

Pink snapper look really good in the water. hook, and its strong oily odour is quickly detected by the fish’s nasal sac. Big snapper like to eat small fish, so this method of strip baits using mackerel works a treat. SOUNDER FREQUENCIES FOR SNAPPER Pink snapper inhabit depths from 1-250m, so different frequencies will need to be used depending on the water depth being fished. The golden rule is that high frequencies produce the best resolved images in shallower depth, and low frequencies produce the best resolved images in deeper water depth. Snapper fishing in shallow water using 450kHz Once a year, from April to October, snapper spawn in an area called Cockburn Sound, close to the Port of Fremantle in Western Australia. During the spawning season, the area is closed to snapper fishing. The shallow depths in this location are covered in meadows of sea grasses, which provide a nursery

for the spawning snapper that have come in from the deeper oceanic waters. During last year’s closure, in the early part of the season, I ventured out into the Sound to take a number of screen captures using a colour sounder, and to check out the fish stock numbers. This area has shallow water depth, so I was able to use two different operating high frequencies, as shown in my screen captures. Screen capture no. 1 was taken with an operating frequency of 450kHz. This frequency can produced highly resolved screen image of bottom structures within a limited depth range. The bottom echo signal is always the most prominent signal recorded the display. Notice how the echo signals from single fish targets appear as small dots on the display –­ this is created by the frequency’s characteristics. A number of these fish targets can be seen to have gathered into a school, forming a vortex on the top of a bottom structure.

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Screen capture no. 4 shows three schools of fish.

Snapper Screen capture no. 2 is an example of how an operating frequency of 450kHz can produce highly resolved screen images of a boat wreck. This boat wreck is sitting on a flat sandy

Note that echo sounder signals are not specific to any type of fish, therefore a fisher can’t identify the type of fish from the signal recorded on the display screen. A definite

80% to further enhance the signal strength of fish targets recorded on the display. Fish school no. 1 has a parabolic arch, created by the fish school being virtually stationary when

2 2

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Screen capture no. 3 was taken at 200kHz –­ the same single target fish from no.1 look bigger. bottom surface, and it is completely covered in fish. It is also home to a resident school of large Samson fish. Had this image been taking using a different frequency, like 200kHz, it would have looked completely different. Snapper fishing in shallow water using 200kHz Screen capture no. 3 was taken 100m away from No1 with an operating frequency

identification of fish can only be made by catching the fish, or by sending down a diver or camera. Note the difference in the size between the echo signals from single fish targets in this screen capture, and then compare them to the ones in Screen capture no. 1 They are the same size fish, but the echo signals from single fish targets are

the transducer’s sound beam passed through it. Echo signals from single fish targets can be see below the main school. Fish school no. 2 is the smallest in this screen capture. Echo signals from single fish targets can be seen close to the bottom to the left of the school. Fish school no. 3 is the largest and most dense fish school. The signal strength

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The author’s grandson Lachlan with a nice snapper. of 200kHz. The bottom echo signal indicates a flat sandy bottom surface. The echo signals from single fish targets can be seen above the bottom echo signal. These signals are strong targets, indicating medium size fish. These fish are likely snapper, because this image was taken during the snapper spawning season. Not many fish in this location would swim well off the bottom, producing echo signals this size.

bigger when using 200kHz. Screen capture no. 4 uses an operating frequency of 200kHz. It shows three schools of fish rising up into the water column. The thickness and tails within the bottom echo signal are indicating a rough hard bottom surface. The background clutter in this image was created by switching the sensitivity gain control from auto to manual, and then tuning the sensitivity gain control up to

of the fish school is similar to that of the bottom echo signal, indicating a lot of fish. When dropping a baited line on top of these types of fish schools, a fish hook-up will often occur before the lines reach the bottom. In these situations, snapper will even bite on bare hooks. Low frequencies (83/50 kHz) are selected in deeper water-depths, and will produce reasonably good


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resolved screen images. The lower the frequencies, the lesser resolved the image. The depth-range at which these frequencies can be operated is not restricted due to its low acoustic absorption loss through the water during transmission. The operating range at low frequency is determined by the performance level of the transducer. Sounding in water depths of 200-600m will only be achieved with a high performance transducer.

TIME VARIABLE GAIN Fishing deeper water depths, it’s essential to use Time Variable Gain (TVG) correctly. If you’re not using it, you will be missing out on a lot of fish. The golden rule is, as you go deeper increase the TVG setting and as the depth decreases, reduce the TVG setting. With the TVG switched off, a school of fish detected at 60m will be recorded as a strong signal. The same size school of

fish detected at 160m will be recorded as a weaker signal or may not even be visible on the display screen. By switching the TVG ON, and adjusting it to the depth, a school of fish located at 160m is recorded proportionally to the same size school of fish detected at 60m. TVG works well at depths to 450m, but after that it loses effect. Some sounders allow TVG to operate on auto control, while others can only be operated on manual control. I prefer operating TVG on manual control, where I control the amount of gain. By doing this, the image will be fully optimised to detect fish targets through

A kayak fisher with a great catch at night.

Screen capture no. 1 shows bottom structure and a school of fish.

Screen capture no. 2 shows a wreck clearly. the various depth ranges. UNDERSTANDING ECHO SOUNDERS/ FISH FINDER When I first used echo sounders, I found the information recorded on the display was a complete mystery. I discovered over time there are no mysteries or secrets attached to echo fishing, only facts. Once these basic facts and principles are understood, they can be applied to any colour echo sounders, in any water depth, anywhere in the world. If you become skillful in reading the echo sounder, you’ll be able find many new

locations that produce fish. This will open up a whole new world and perspective of life under the sea. John Adams’ book, How to use an Echo Sounder/ Fish-finder is well known among anglers. John is an ex commercial fisher with a vast amount of expertise using colour echo sounders, he lives in Western Australia where he manages Fremantle Boat School and is a keen recreational fisher. To learn more about echo fishing, visit www.howtouseafishfinder. com, or contact John by email, john@ fremantle

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Finessing the heavyweights NSW STH COAST

Steve Starling

The concept of finesse fishing doesn’t only apply to the lighter end of the

sense approach to landing fish. There’s no point in hooking lots if they all get away. Most of us can afford to err a little more on the finesse side when we wet a line. You might think that

sub-surface swimbaits are the next major trend following hot-on-the-heels of the wake bait boom. Much of this development is being spearheaded by savvy anglers targeting lunker cod on Copeton Dam,

The author with a solid topwater cod taken on a tweaked Jackall Mikey Snr and relatively light gear. Note that a set of hooks was discarded when upgrading this wake bait’s hardware, to maintain balance and buoyancy. fishing spectrum. It can also pay big dividends when dealing with our true heavyweights! “Finesse fishing” has become my personal mantra over the past few decades – I’m always banging on about it. In a nutshell, I firmly believe you’ll hook more fish in every scenario by fishing lighter, finer, longer, stealthy and smart. Naturally, this quest for finesse needs to be balanced with a common

throwing massive wake and swimbaits intended to tempt mega Murray cod would be about the last area of our sport that could possibly benefit from the application of finesse, but you’d be wrong! The booming fishery for XOS Murray cod using bulky topwater offerings such as surface walkers, chuggers and jointed wake baits is definitely the latest big thing to grip the Australian freshwater scene. Oversized

near Inverell, in the New England region of NSW, but the effectiveness of these lure types isn’t limited to that fishery alone. Similar opportunities exist in cod impoundments all the way from Glenlyon to Blowering, Burrinjuck to Wyangala and Mulwala to Eildon, not to mention in the major rivers of the Murray/Darling basin, as well as some of their smaller feeders and anabranches – just about anywhere

big cod live. How do you apply the concept of finesse to a fishery that’s based on bruising, metre-something kegs of fish exploding all over 20cm+ lures that typically weigh 70-250g and are most often cast off serious, double-handed baitcasters or saltwater strength spinning gear? It’s easy – finesse doesn’t necessarily mean soft or lightweight. Instead, the term refers to cunning, subterfuge, balance and power. In fact, finesse could well be regarded as the martial arts of fishing. Like most other anglers serious about catching big cod on these lures, I started out using 50-70lb braid and 60lb (30kg) mono leaders of either nylon or fluorocarbon. Cod might not be the hardest fighters in our waters on a kilofor-kilo basis, but a big one hooked close to cover can brick you as fast as any snag-loving fish. I still use the gear I’ve described in the sticks. However, I’ve come to realise that a

Achieving the right action can make a huge difference on the day. Lighter gear helps. I’ve taken to running 20lb braid and relatively short 30-50lb (15-25kg) leaders in these open waters, enjoying longer casts and better lure action as a result.

around with the hardware on my lures, but that’s a story for a future column! Truth is, there are always facets of our fishing we can fine tune and improve, with direct benefits

It seems counter-intuitive to use the word ‘finesse’ when referring to beasts like this monster Copeton cod that Jo Starling tamed, but the concept still has relevance at this end of the scale. Lure is a JJ’s Plague Mouseful wake bait.

Cod don’t generally demand barra-strength lure fittings. There’s a fine balance between power and finesse.



great deal of the best wake and swimbaiting for cod, especially at dawn, dusk and through the night, tends to take place in relatively open water adjacent to bare banks and weed beds. You don’t need to load for bear in these scenarios.

That’s practical finesse at work. The application of finesse in this way can transform a blank session into one that produces a strike, or turn a half-hearted boil and rejection into a fullblooded take. This is just the beginning. I’ve been playing

in terms of our overall catch rates. That’s the true meaning of finesse. Remember, the closed season on Murray cod remains in force on most waters until December 1, but there’s no closed season in Lakes Copeton or Eildon.

Tech Tricks

Getting the best hook-up potential with a popper BRISBANE

Gordon Macdonald

No matter whether you’re chasing bass, queenfish, saratoga, trevally, murray cod, tailor, bream or barramundi, fishing with topwater offerings is addictive. The visual aspect of the surface strike will have you trembling at

the knees and the power some species emit as they head for cover will have you buckling at the knees. While there’s now a myriad of surface lures, all imitating a wounded or struggling food source, poppers would have to be one of the more commonly used topwater presentations. During the last decade or so, hardcore anglers have


The single head hook and single rear hook combo (top) is my preferred rigging option and is rapidly gaining popularity among the ranks of seasoned popper fishers. The lure will rarely foul with the leader and the hook-up potential is great on GTs, as they commonly attack the head of the bait to crush and immobilise it. The single hook with flexible rigging is also much less likely to be dislodged during the fight.

renewed interest in targeting giant trevally, kingfish, yellowfin tuna, Spanish mackerel and numerous other bluewater beasts on large poppers and heavy duty tackle. Obviously, tough adversaries require even tougher tackle to withstand the pressures of subduing these critters. Targeting XOS GTs requires the strongest outfits and tough lures rigged with

hardcore terminals. Eliminating weak links will give you a great chance of success when that lure finally gets crunched. As poppers promote a savage smash and grab strike, increased chances of a hook-up are highly desirable and a hotly debated topic. Different lures requiring altered hook setups to maximise swimming action and promote better


Hold the two tag ends against the hook shank and wrap the main portion around the hook shank and down so that it overlaps the start of the tag ends.


Continue to wrap down around the shank and then pass the folded over portion back through the centre, against the hook shank, to complete a clove hitch around the shank.


hook-up potential. Poppers are one of the more commonly used lures for targeting large GTs and other bluewater predators. There are three popular ways of rigging these large cup-faced lures, which can exceed 30cm in length and weigh more than 200gm. Some anglers favour all trebles and while these offer great initial hook-up potential, they’re more

likely to be worked free during the fight, have increased potential to be dangerous to the angler or deckie and can inflict more damage to the fish as well. The single tail hook and back-to-back belly hooks are a better solution, offering great hook-up and holding potential, yet these are likely to foul on the leader if the lure cartwheels during the retrieve.


A small portion of heat shrink can be passed over the knot and then reduced with the cigarette lighter or a paint stripper gun to secure and hold the knot in place and neaten up the rig.


To attach this to your popper, pass the end of the loop through the towing eyelet of the popper and then pass the hook through the loop. I like the loop to be a snug, taut fit over the hook.

To make your own popper head hook, you’re going to need a few things. One of the best, most easily sourced hooks is the Owner Jobu. The Shout Kudako, Owner SJ-41 and numerous other strong hooks can be used. Some 2mm Spectra cord (Spectraspeed 250kg is good) can be sourced for around $2 per metre. A good pair of cutters, a cigarette lighter and some heat shrink, around 15mm.


Pull the knot tight, with the tag ends just protruding out of the knot, and then push the creased centre portion through the hook eye from the rear of the shank and out the gape side.



For this particular popper I’m going to use an 8/0 Owner Jobu, which is the most common size. You’ll need minimum 28cm of Spectra Cord for this size hook, 26cm for 7/0 and 30cm for 9/0. You can always make the rig longer if you wish. Once you’ve cut your Spectra to length, use your cigarette lighter to seal the ends to limit fraying. Fold your Spectra in half with a hard crease in the centre – this section is required to pass through the hook eye in the latter stages. This also gets your tag ends even.


Pull this very tight so the knot snugs up hard to the hook eye. Put the hook bend over a solid structure, such as a boat rail, and then use your finger or a bar hooked through the Spectra loop to apply some serious pressure and lock the knot tightly.

Continue pulling the hook until the loop snugs up tight around the towing eyelet. Your leader will still be attached to the wire towing eyelet, usually utilising a swivel and a split ring, when using a popper head hook. When laid back along the body of the popper, the head hook will be roughly level with the front belly eyelet which does not have a hook of any kind on it. If the head hook wraps the leader during casting or when a popper cartwheels during the retrieve or a missed strike, the hook will easily fall away and back into the desired position. This is usually not possible when a belly rigged single or treble is in play. NOVEMBER 2016


Great fishing around Yamba YAMBA

Dave Gaden

It’s been a super start to spring. Fish throughout the river system and offshore have played the game, with catches everywhere. The river has recovered from the constant small freshes that give it that dark colour and make fishing a little hard. Clean saltwater is now

be chasing the abundance of river prawns pushed out with the ebb tide. A good sign is bird activity close to the bank, as they pick smaller prawns off the surface. Good fish won’t be far away and most have been taken on larger dark coloured plastics with light weighted jigheads. Larger than average whiting have shown up early this year. For those prepared to have a fish in the dark

taken from Browns Rocks in the last week, with live herring as the preferred bait. Try rigging them with a very small treble hook near the eyes, as the larger bream will attack the fish head on. Browns Rocks can be a hard area to fish when the tide really starts to run, so plan your trip around either tide change to give you some slack water and make it easier to get your bait to the fish.

Snapper on the north ground will like the shallower water, with nice plate-size fish available. pushing up past Maclean on the flood tide. Great flathead have been taken on their run downstream to spawn from Harwood Bridge, the junction near Ashby, and Harwood Sugar Mill upstream to the entrance of Lake Wooloweyah in the north. These fish appear to

with some live yabbies, results have been impressive. They’re still about during the day, but holding the drop-offs in deeper water and further upstream. Drifting in front of Sleepers Island at the turn of the tide is a great way to get a feed of these tasty little fish. Lovely bream have been

Dave Gaden’s Yamba • Deep Sea

Mulloway have been a bit scarce around the south break wall lately, mainly due to reconstruction work going on. The workers revamping the wall are dropping large boulders in the water and onto the wall – fish will move away while this is happening. A lot more work is to be done on the wall, so it’ll be quiet for some time.

Smaller fish are still being taken from Oyster Channel Bridge and upstream to Harwood Bridge, but Iluka Wall or the North Breakwall and Moriartys would seem like a better option for larger fish. Offshore has had great fishing lately. Fantastic snapper are coming from the southern grounds from Red Cliff to Sandon. The offshore breeze has been consistent, clouding up the water, but if you can find clear patches of clean water, the fish are bunched nice and tight. Woody Head Break is a good place to flick a few plastics at first light in around 7-8m of water, and should stay that way until the end of November. Once the sun gets up around 9am, they move into deeper water. The red tide, what we call Red October, has arrived. This is very obvious for those travelling offshore with big patches of maroon to brown water. I hate this stuff – it sucks oxygen from the water and puts the fish to sleep, making it hard to get a bite. This red tide can stick around until mid-November at times. Avoid fishing near it, and head wider to find clean water. Rarely will it affect water of 40m or deeper, so fish found there will be easier to catch. Northern grounds from Black Rock to Evans Head are still holding big trag, with a lot going over the 70cm mark. They’re a good feed. With them are some nice mulloway just wide of South Evans Reef, in around 42m. We’ve been picking up good cobia too. Snapper on the north ground will like the

Some lovely catches have been made offshore. Find patches of clean water and have a go. shallower water, so between South Evans bommies and Chaos will give you nice plate-size fish with the odd stray beast.

Shark Bay in November. Signs are looking good for a repeat performance. Keep an eye on the warm current forecasts and you should


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Fantastic snapper are about.

The 50 fathom line, for those with the boats to handle it, will have big snapper as they move back out after the spawn. The current has been reasonably light, so they’re easy to fish for and hold in tight groups. Pearl perch will be in abundance – look for the patches of wire weed, as they will hang out in that area. There have been a few big yellowtail kingfish around with the odd amberjack and samsonfish, so take some jigs with you. Last year, we had an early show of mackerel in

notice a finger of hot water cutting from Byron to Woody. This will be a giveaway that they’re there. Also, Shark Bay will have 100 boats in it. The mackerel are really patchy on the first arrival with good fish one day and nothing for 2-3 days. Be prepared to go reef fishing if they don’t show up on your day off. If you’d like any extra advice on what’s happening in Yamba, feel free to call into Marina Boat and Tackle and have a chat with myself or my brother Rob Gaden.

Colourful fishing trips BALLINA

Joe Allan

The close in reefs have been producing a few tuna, bonito and horse mackerel of late. The best way to target these are trolling big metal slugs or pint skirted lures. If you find a bait school, get your slugs and start casting, because this action can be crazy. Fish often come cast after cast while you’re on the school. There’s still a fair few snapper around Lennox Point, Riordans Reef and Black Head. The latter can be hit and miss. There are a lot of smaller fish, but these are still great eating and can provide some great fun on

light gear. As the water starts to really warm up, mahimahi will become hungry and be around in solid numbers. Best spots to check are the FADs and the wave buoy. The beaches along South Ballina can produce some amazing whiting fishing at this time of year. Scout the beach a few days before the bigger tides and head out at night with live worms and pipis. The pipi numbers will increase as the water warms up. Watch out though, if a northerly is blowing, blue bottles will be out in numbers and while not deadly, they’ll pack a punch and are very uncomfortable. Whiting in the lower reaches of the Richmond are on and firing on small surface lures. The best lures to try


are the Bassday Sugapen 70s in a variety of different colours, depending on water clarity and sunlight. The most popular are the C95 in orange, MB16 clear with pink stripes and C137 banana prawn. Get these walking as fast as you can over the weed or sand flats, until you find a concentration of fish. Then keep going, as they can be in big numbers together. Be prepared to hook a few things as by-catch like small trevally, bream and very hungry flathead. When there’s 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 replace them with 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 (salt 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 the best time of year for this type of fishing. Get as bright a lure














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Aidan Kane was happy with this mac tuna caught off Ballina. as you can – flathead can’t seem to get enough of these fluoro things. The freshwater reaches of the river are well and truly hitting their straps. The Aussie bass are out in numbers and eating surface lures in the early and late parts of the day. The best lures to try are any cicada copies. Mornings and afternoons, these guys are out and singing – you can’t hear yourself think. It’s the best time to get these out and give them a go. The old faithful Bassman Spinnerbaits are always a go to, but try this early in the season: small hardbody crankbaits like the Atomic Crank 38 in ghost gill brown, muddy prawn and black hot tail. These small profile lures imitate prawns and that’s what the fish are hitting this time of year.

Aidan Kane with a good eating-size snapper at Riordans Reef.



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A bass caught on a small crankbait in a prawn colour.

There have been big Iluka catches this spring ILUKA

Ross Deakin

The Iluka area has experienced fantastic fishing conditions with beautiful clear days. The

mighty Clarence has continued to deliver good fishing, but maybe not as good as prievious years. Rains further inland have kept the fresh coming There have been decent fish caught recently, such

as local Geoff Head’s 1.3kg luderick caught off the wall on cabbage. Young Juno Mailey and his grandad Tony caught and released a 1m flathead at Moriartys. Renate Gorton caught a 840g bream in

Iluka Bay. Snapper have been on the bite off the headlands and offshore with many good fish coming through for weigh-in, such as a 7kg fish caught by Trevor Breman around the Angourie grounds.


The new Fish Candy Chasebaits will make the fish chase you! Chasebaits are the latest range of soft lures to be released by Australian fishing experts at Fish Candy. These new lures were designed with the pure intention to reverse the chase and do everything possible to make fish chase the bait. To achieve this, the team at Fish Candy spent countless hours developing the design, materials, scents and colours. The goal was to produce lures that are extremely good quality and value, present well, and secured in packaging that would protect every lure.

This entire development process of the Chasebaits range has spanned over two years. From the initial design process, through development and finally launching the range at the 2016 AFTA Trade Show in July. The Chasebaits colour range have all been selected from the most proven colours that Australian fishing experts demand. Colours that are proven to catch fish! To take this even further, Chasebaits have mixed colours between body shapes and sizes as certain body styles and sizes are used to target different fish.

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Wicked blue groper have been caught off Woody Head with a 2.1kg beast caught by Tim Geide. Mulloway catches have been good with two fish caught off the Iluka Wall up to 20kg, both taken on pilchards. Trevally have been around, with Henry Phillips weighing a very nice 5.5kg fish caught at the Bluff early this month. Tailor have been around, but in pretty thin numbers. Hopefully that situation changes soon. Fishers have been

reporting very nice size dart and whiting on the open beaches, taken on pipis and beach worms. Happy fishing, everyone. Enjoy these awesome spring conditions. • For all your fishing needs and up-to-date information and tips for spots and fish drop into the shop for a chat. Iluka Bait and Tackle is located at 3 Owen Street, Iluka NSW 2466. Give us a call on (02) 6646 5217 or 0402 997 572. We are available online at or visit our Facebook page.


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Summer on the horizon THE TWEED

Josh Gurney

Summer is just around the corner. How fast has this year gone? Already the fishing is heating up and so are the water temperatures. It’s still cool enough to chase a good mulloway and big flathead. I’ll be focusing most of my efforts on jacks and if you’re up for a challenge, so should you. Be warned, it’s slightly addictive. A good place to start would be Boyds Bay Bridge and surrounding areas such as the Ivory Tavern Marina and the Anchorage Canals, if you’re blessed with access to a boat. If not, I would be perched land-based around those locations anyway.

there’s no doubt about that, but it’s not impossible. A good tip, particularly on rock walls, is to cast and swim your lure parallel to the wall itself. A good

jack on a lure was caught doing exactly that. You’ll pick up species like trevally, mulloway, lots of flathead, big bream and obviously jacks.

A lovely by-catch caught from the bridge.

This jack was caught off a rockwall. Fish close to the walls and structure. of mine has been targeting flatties and mulloway and has come up with the rewards. There’s still plenty of good colder climate fish to be caught. While I haven’t been chasing them lately, I’ve been informed Terranora inlet has been on fire for those looking to catch flathead. The low tide and the start of the high has been the best bet, as the sandbanks are exposed and the baitfish are typically schooled up in the channel, giving predators a chance to grab a few. Match the bait profile with soft plastics around the 3” mark. Have a cast and you’ll be sure to come up trumps.

GTs are common by-catch when chasing jacks.

Lovely jacks like this can be a challenge, but lots of fun. LAND-BASED FISHING Land-based fishing with lures is hard and

steady medium pace retrieve works awesome. In fact, my first mangrove

If lures aren’t your thing, try your luck with some live baits – mullet and herring work well. Fish at your feet, nine times out of ten, that’s where they’ll be. Casting as far out as possible is where a lot of people go wrong. These fish are extremely structure oriented. They’ll be sitting in 3-5m of water around rocks, timber and gutters, as opposed to 20m out of the bank in the middle of nowhere. BOAT/KAYAK If you’re up for a challenge, tie on a ZMan 4” SwimmerZ or similar large

paddle-tail soft plastic. Lock your drag up and hold on. Focus your time on man-made structure, pontoons, bridges and other structure. Cast parallel to the structure and slowly roll you plastic along. Slow steady retrieves are fine, but mix it up. Adding a few jerks and speedy twitches can turn a slow bite into a good one. There’s no time for day dreaming though – anyone who’s hooked one of these fish can tell you that. It’ll be done and dusted before you have time to react and leave you thinking about it for days on end. A mate

Nick Cheevers with a solid schoolie.

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Many fish on the move SOUTHERN GOLD COAST

Danny Sands

The Great Northern Brewing Co. Flathead Classic run by the Gold Coast Sport Fishing Club is done and dusted, with 240 teams fishing and over 4000 fish caught in the three day competition. Conditions were not the best – 25 knots and northwesterlies made fishing very tough. Team Wilson fished well in these conditions. Congratulations to them and all teams that competed in the tournament. Good flathead numbers should continue throughout this month with most of the

action happening around the full moon. Big female flathead will still be around too. Tea bagging big soft plastics like 5” ZMan paddlers around the Seaway and Tweed Bar will encounter some big girls. This technique is fantastic with mulloway as well. Whiting should be biting well this month, especially in the Nerang River between the Southport School and Sorrento. Bloodworms, baby soldier crabs, shrimp and canal wrigglers are the best baits. As the days start to lengthen and the weather starts to warm, this should fire up the mangrove jacks. The waterways around the Gold Coast provide a wide

The Flathead Classic has always promoted catch and release fishing. Photo courtesy of Michael Fox

range of both natural and man-made structure that mangrove jacks love to call home, including extensive canal systems, rock walls, pontoons, retaining walls, bridges and lay down timber. Early morning and late afternoon are the key to snaring these red devils. There’s so many ways to catch mangrove jacks. I like to get out early around 3am and throw surface poppers around rocks and retaining walls that feed out of canals and rivers. When the sun starts to get high, try slow rolling 4” ZMan DieZels just millimetres from the shaded side of jetties when chasing jacks. Bait fishing is a very popular way to chase mangrove jacks at night. I like to use live herring and mullet fillets as bait with 20lb mainline and 40lb leader. These fish are very quick, so having your rod in your hand will increase your chance of not getting busted off. Places like the Bundall Bridge, the Council chambers, and the rock bar in front of the Southport School in the Nerang River fish very well with bait. Other places to try are the rock bar behind the golf course in the Tallebudgera River, Boyds Bay Bridge, and Tumbulgum Bridge in the Tweed River. INSHORE The first run of pelagics will be in full swing this month with mahimahi and small wahoo turning up. November is usually the start of our juvenile black marlin season, with good numbers of black marlin around the Hervey Bay area. These fish should filter down the east coast and hit the Gold Coast around late November. Good amounts of bait on our local reefs should keep them around for us to enjoy. The local made skirted

Big mulloway will still be cruising around all bar entrances in November. lures like Black Snacks and Pakulas are a great option and are a good way to cover ground. Trolling most of our local reefs, east of the Seaway and areas like Kirra reef, the Gravel Patch and the Nine-Mile are great places to start. Big numbers of blue pilchards have been along the coast between the Seaway and Jumpinpin Bar, which have attracted schools of tailor, mac tuna and a few big long-tail tuna which are pushing the 20kg mark. Casting stickbaits and soft plastics in 5” has been working the best. Spotted mackerel will appear this month in drips and drabs. Palm Beach Reef will see the first run of mackerel followed by Mermaid Reef. I like to get on the water before sun up to beat the crowds and sound around looking for bait and mackerel before I anchor up. Float lining half and whole pilchards with no weight down a berley trail is a great way to catch a feed. Use a light nylon coated multi-strand wire around 20cm in length with a black swivel and

arm have been producing thumper bass. This is great fun on light gear. As the days start getting a bit longer and hotter, the insect population starts to increase, making surface action a must. This can be one of the most exciting ways to fish. Casting cicada pattern surface walkers to grass patches and fallen timber is a proven winner fishing Hinze Dam.

The hot weather will stir up the local jacks population this month.

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Hot days and afternoon storms will deliver GOLD COAST CANALS

Josh Dunn

Finally, we have some hot weather setting in. We’ll be seeing hot evenings – prime jack fishing time! Anglers have been getting into multiple jacks per session,

showing the rest of us that hard work pays off. Last year I checked the radar and weather before school to find a hot day with an afternoon storm. They’re the days I look forward to. Quality fish have been throughout most of the Gold Coast canals and estuaries. The

Harrison Branch with a solid flathead caught in a tight creek.

main river systems including Logan, Coomera, Nerang and Tallebudgera have all been holding plenty of bait. The predatory fish won’t be too far behind. Bridge pylons, rock and retaining walls, mangroves and natural structure hold jacks, trevally, bream and flathead. Logan River has been fishing quite slow over the past month, but as the prawns start coming on in the next month, we’ll start to see the river system really fire up! Basically, find the prawns and inlets and you’ll find the fish – especially flathead, jacks, trevally and bream. Although, the odd flathead is being caught around sandbanks, deep holes and mud banks. My go-to lure for flathead in this river system, as it can get quite dirty at times, is the ZMan 3” MinnowZ in Calico Candy. Over the next month, we’ll see temperatures rise – both in water and on land. This is exciting to hear, but can also build up some nasty afternoon storms, so be careful on the water and check the local forecast. These storms can build quickly. There’s a few reasons why the bite can be tough. Things have to fall in place to get a red hot bite. You’ll

The author’s PB bass caught from his kayak on a ZMan 2.5” Slim SwimZ. have noticed the bite really tough, then all of a sudden the tide turns and you’re catching fish after fish, right? Lately I’ve found tides to be a huge factor in my fishing, where it can separate a bag of fish or a donut on the water. The best tide I’ve found is around two hours before high tide and an hour before the low tide. Without doubt, bridge pylons have been my recent go-to structure – some can hold masses of bait and

quality fish. Mangrove jacks, trevally, bream and flathead are the main species that will roam many bridges. There are numerous ways to fish bridges and most will be successful. A simple but effective way is with plastics, by positioning your boat so you can line the pylons up where the bow of the boat is facing into the current. Sit about several metres from the last pylon, get nice and long casts right up along the pylons, so 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. Despite the tough bite at times, fishing hard and persisting really pays off. My biggest tip for this month would be to fish a lot of structure and cover where bait will flourish. Keep your lures or baits in the strike zone and you’re in for a good chance. Stay safe and see you on the water.


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Plenty of options for November GOLD COAST

David Green

Spring has seen unseasonably high water temperatures on the grounds off the Gold Coast. There have already been quite a lot of blue marlin and large yellowfin caught on the wide grounds. November should see a further increase in water temperatures to around

24°C. Overall, November is a good month to fish both the Gold Coast estuaries and offshore grounds and there are plenty of options this month. GOLD COAST OFFSHORE GROUNDS This month has traditionally been the start of blue marlin season in these waters. If you look at the sea surface temperature charts before heading out, looking for eddies and

temperature breaks, you should be able to plan your fishing area before leaving home. In general, I like to work areas between 250-400m. If you see birds and tuna schools, it’s time to put the lures in. Most of the blue marlin have been around 120-160kg and they’re a great target on stand up 24 and 37kg tackle. The yellowfin have been out a bit wider between the 500 and 1000m lines, and some

A nice jack on a hardbody.

great fish to 80kg have already been caught. In closer to shore, there’s been an excellent run of longtail tuna up to around 27kg out from the Jumpinpin Bar in 10-20m of water. These have mostly been caught spinning with metal lures, stickbaits and large soft plastics. There are quite a few mackerel tuna as well. Hopefully the schools of longtails will still be around throughout November. The run of juvenile black marlin in more northern ports through late winter and spring has been quite poor, so I don’t hold too many hopes for the coming season on the inshore grounds. November usually sees mahimahi and small black marlin start to show when the East Australian current pushes into the inshore grounds, bringing large schools of pilchards. This month is definitely a good one to do a few trolling sessions on the 40m line. Look for these early season fish, concentrate in areas such as the Cotton Reef off the Jumpinpin Bar, the Gravel Patch east of Burleigh Heads and the

An average blue marlin caught from Reel Easy.

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area around the Tweed Heads Nine Mile Reef. For the bottom fishers, fishing tends to drop off this month as the water warms and the current increases. There should still be a few snapper and pearl perch on the 36 and 50 fathom line, but by now, most snapper have finished spawning and the numbers decrease. It’s still worth trying deep soft plastics and soft vibes or pilchards if the current is slow. In closer to shore, cobia can be a good option this month. There’s generally an inshore run of adult fish on Palm Beach Reef, the 20 fathom reef east of the Seaway and Mermaid Reef this month. Anchor up, berley heavily and fish large live baits and big soft plastics to put yourself in with a good chance of fish. There’s sometimes an early run of spotted mackerel on Palm Beach Reef in November. GOLD COAST RIVERS AND ESTUARIES This month is one of the best months of the year to target mangrove jacks in the Coomera and Nerang Rivers. Floating pontoons have changed the way that mangrove jacks behave on the Gold Coast, giving them food and shelter across the entire tide cycle. This has

day with dirty water and a clear sky, the catch rate will generally plummet. Whiting are good to chase this month and as the water warms they become a lot more aggressive on surface lures. This type of fishing is often at its best on windy days. The fish seem to feed a lot more aggressively if there’s a bit of chop on the water. My favourite whiting surface lure is the Bassday Sugarpen. These are expensive little lures, but unless tailor and pike get involved, you don’t tend to lose many lures. I’ve


WINDOWS Mitchell Calcutt with a whopper mahimahi. also lead to an increasing number of mangrove jacks in Gold Coast canals. Present soft plastics and hardbodies at the end of the pontoon that the current is running into, and work the lure quickly along the face and inside of the pontoon. ZMan soft plastics on a HeadlockZ jighead are particularly popular in local waters and catch a lot of fish. The most popular colour is white. Poppers


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are another good option, particularly very early in the morning or at night. There are monster jacks in the Gold Coast canals with increasing numbers of fish over 60cm turning up each season. By-catches include juvenile Queensland groper, gold-spot estuary cod, Moses perch and giant and big-eye trevally. Flathead are still in good numbers in November but start to drop in numbers

towards the end of the month. The recent Flathead Classic saw some really innovative new methods shine through and fairly good numbers of fish in terrible conditions. There’ll be a few large females in the deep water around the entrances as well as quite a few good sized mulloway. If there’s cloud cover and a coolish day, there should be good fishing on the shallow flats. If it’s a hot windy

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tried quite a few different whiting surface lures but the Sugarpen has been the most reliable. November is also a good month to get out the crab pots as the muddies and sand crabs become more active. There’s a lot of crab movement this month – the muddies have thin shells and aren’t very full. Uncooked chicken frames, tuna and any fish frames all make good bait. I like to mix my baits up to give the crabs a flavour combination. The best bait I’ve used is a mackerel head inside a chicken frame.


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Warming waters make for even hotter fishing Tailor should start to venture through the Bar on early morning high tides, or they’ll be hanging out beyond the breakers of South Straddie across from the Bedrooms all the way to the tip. For the bigger fish, 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 dirty water line, where the fish will be stalking baitfish. Look for birds feeding and diving on the surface to locate the schools. 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. Whiting are also picking up in size


Mick Morris

The temperature of the water is finally starting to warm up, which will fire up the ‘Pin and make for some hot fishing right through November There should be some big mulloway on offer out in the deep water off Swan Bay and towards the Bar as the tide starts to slow before the change of tide. Drop big plastics and baits straight down. Jigging seems to be the most productive method at the moment and the trick is to stay in contact with your lure or bait at all times. If the current is running too fast, you’ll struggle to reach the bottom and maintain the best depth where the fish are holding. The longer you can leave your lure in this strike zone, the better your chances are of getting a hook-up. Mulloway are extremely picky and a very hard fish to catch. Another great way is to get some big livies, mullet or pike, and try anchoring up at Marks Rock, the Powerlines, Fishermans Channel and the point of Short island. Flathead should be prevalent once again with

Sam Hill out-fished his dad yet again with his first Jumpinpin mulloway on a Zerek Fish Trap. over 4000 lizards caught and released in the recent Flathead Classic. There’s

definitely no shortage in the flathead stocks. All these fish were caught on

lures, so if you’ve never used lures, give it a go, because they really work. The top of Crusoe Island, Pandannus weed banks, Kalinga Bank, Tipplers Island, along the Never Fails and the Aldershots were all great haunts during the competition. With all those fish released, they should be in those spots during November. Flathead love live mullet, herring and hardies. Drifting with these in the hotspots during the first of the run-out tide should put you on the right track to catch bigger and better flathead. Dust off the crab pots as the muddies usually fire up about now. If you love a feed of crab, start at the lower reaches of the Logan River and head outwards towards Long Island, Redland Bay Channel, further to Cobby Passage and out from Jacobs Well. Stay along the mangrove covered shoreline and holes.

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and numbers from the Broadwater, Wave Break Island, the Green Bank, Slipping Sands and the western side of the Never Fail Islands. A few good hauls have come from the Nerang and Logan Rivers in the deeper holes and also from the sand flats between Kalinga Bank and Crusoe Island. Stick with either sand or bloodworms, or live yabbies, for the best results. Thanks for all your reports. If you need any advice or want to find out what’s biting, drop us a line at Gem Bait & Tackle on (07) 3287 3868, or email I’ll catch you next month. • Thanks for all your reports and keep those fish coming in. If you’d like any advice or up to date fishing information drop us a line at Gem Bait & Tackle on (07) 3287 3868 or email


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More excitement in Moreton Bay SOUTHERN BAY

Nabeel Issa

The fishing just keeps getting hotter! The Southern Bay has been fishing great with all sorts of species coming on the bite this spring. Bream, mulloway and snapper have been around in good numbers. Plenty of anglers have been getting out there and stuck into them. The weather has also helped, with some awesome mornings over the past month. Moreton Bay is a great place to be at this time of the year. BREAM October saw the temperatures

Heading out of Cleveland into the bay in glassed out conditions – there aren’t many better places to be.


rise with the hint that summer is well and truly on its way. This time of year proves to be great for targeting big yellowfin bream, especially if it’s not something you’ve done a lot. As the water warms, the bream become less lethargic and readily attack lures with plenty of gusto. Most of the bay islands are worth a shot. Look to get as shallow as you can, as the fish will move well up into



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the banks searching for food. I like using pencil shaped lures as they cast very well and have an enticing action when worked on the surface. Small poppers are also very effective in these shallow water situations. Expect catches of tailor, whiting, flathead and even squid! It’s worth keeping a squid jig rigged and ready to go as quite often squid will follow the lures. If the wind is up and working surface lures becomes tricky, switch to shallow diving crankbaits and you’ll be able to keep the bites coming. Long casts, followed by a slow roll technique is the best way to go. Basically,

Jamal Kanj has been getting stuck into plenty of nice fish and sent in this great picture of a mulloway just prior to landing it. the pontoons and jetties for the most effective way to catch a mangrove jack. A few popular lures that anglers use in these situations are the 4” ZMan SwimmerZ and the DieZel MinnowZ. They’re the perfect imitation for a little mullet, which the jacks love. Similar sized hardbody lures are also a good option. All that’s needed is a slow roll retrieve, slowly winding the lure along the face of the

been a common occurrence. Drift over the schooled fish with soft plastics or micro-jigs for the best method to catch mulloway. The most important aspect has been to make sure your lure is right on the fish. This is where your sounder comes into its own. SNAPPER This is the time of year for big Moreton Bay snapper. Looking back through my records, some of my biggest


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Snapper will often hang around the schools of mulloway and are a sucker for well presented soft plastics.

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wind it in just quick enough to get the lure action going. MANGROVE JACKS Mangrove jack are an awesome fish to target and are often overlooked in the Southern Bay area. Not many fish in an estuary can pull harder, and they can sure test your gear. We don’t seem to catch many around the islands, but there are a fair few that call the canals home. Raby Bay and Birkdale canals provide plenty of cover for these red devils and are great places to target the fish. Cast soft plastics around

pontoons. Mangrove jacks will sit high in the water column, waiting for unsuspecting baitfish to swim past. Keeping your lure in this strike zone is key. Fish appropriate line class too – I wouldn’t fish any lighter than 20lb, as these fish hit like trains and go straight for the structure. You’ll need some pulling power on your end! MULLOWAY There’s been plenty of mulloway around the Peel Island Artificial Reef. Many anglers are cashing in on another great season. Fish in the 80-90cm range have

fish have come as by-catch while chasing mulloway. They aren’t usually in big schools and you only ever hear of them caught in ones and twos, but they’re around and worth looking for. Peel Island Artificial and Harry Atkinson Reefs are the best bets. Try a 5” ZMan Streak in baby bass colour – they love them! That’s it for this month. If you get into a few fish, I’d love to hear about it. Send in your fishing story to nabs12@ and make sure you include some photos. I’ll get them into next month’s report.



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Hungry, aggressive fish create fun in the sun BRISBANE

Gordon Macdonald

Hot summer conditions catalyse hot angling action. As the waters warm within the bay and estuaries, the metabolism of many species increases and their aggressiveness soars. Mackerel, mangrove jack, estuary cod, threadfin, sharks, crabs and tuna species will be common fare within their respective waters. There’s a broad array on offer. Heightened baitfish activity will bring some quality pelagics into the bay. With the hot sun beating down, anglers need to apply sunscreen, put on some protective clothing and keep up the fluids, but piscatorial rewards are out there for the taking. SHARKS Warm conditions can increase the activity of sharks within the estuaries

The same can be said for other areas along the east coast and further afield. Even those fishing in the estuaries regularly had bream, flathead, threadfin, mulloway and other species attacked by sharks during the fight. While you can’t stop this happening, you can get a bit of your own back by actually going out and targeting a few sharks for fun. I’ve done a lot of shark fishing over the years and have found them a great species to teach anglers the skills of fighting a fish. Junior anglers get a buzz out of catching a shark and checking them out once they are safely on board and suitably restrained. You’re not permitted to keep a shark over 1.5m, but most will be less than this in length –probably a metre or so. These smaller sharks can also be good eating if filleted soon after capture. In the bay, sharks are commonly found around

School mackerel have been plentiful over the last few months. This was one of several taken on drifted pilchards from around the beacons. and bay. These toothy assailants cause havoc for anglers and attack any decent fish you hook, at times. I lost count of how many school mackerel, longtail tuna and spotted mackerel I lost to big sharks while fishing the bay last season – mainly pig-eye and bull whalers. In addition to fish, you usually lose the lure as well, which is mega annoying. 36


the bay island margin, the spoil grounds and along the edges of most channels. If you specifically target them, it doesn’t take too long to hook-up. I find that drifting likely areas with a whole fish bait like gar, slimey mackerel, mullet or pike pinned on a couple of hooks snelled together with nyloncoated wire, will usually get results. A tuna oil slick will

also increase your chances considerably. In the Brisbane River and other estuarine systems, live baits will definitely produce the goods quicker than dead baits. Mullet, pike and catfish are all prime offerings. Catfish are a major food source for many estuarine sharks, especially in the Brisbane River. Sharks generally strike the rear of the cattie and just remove the tail section leaving the head and three spikes. Ensure you have at least one hook in the tail. Live offerings suspended beneath a balloon struggle and create vibrations in the water. This is like ringing the dinner bell to a shark and any in the area will quickly home in on this bait. Even smaller sharks should be handled with care as their teeth can still inflict life-threatening wounds. Use a large landing net for securing sharks to around 10kg and then pin them to the ground or floor of the boat with a secure grip on the back of the head to remove the hooks or cut the leader. MANGROVE JACK There’s been some great mangrove jacks already caught this season with anglers fishing the numerous creeks, rivers and estuaries within the Moreton Bay region. The Coomera and Logan Rivers offer prime waters – many anglers will score quality jacks as well as threadfin, estuary cod, trevally, flathead and even the occasional barramundi in these systems. Residential canals offer heaps of structure and prime jack habitat. Features such as mangroves, bridge pylons, pontoons, jetties and rock walls are prime jack-holding structure and lures cast close to these will be slammed. Diving minnow lures, vibration baits, poppers, stickbaits, soft plastics and a host of others can produce in the hands of knowledgeable anglers. Dawn, dusk and night sessions generally produce the best results. Lighted areas are often the key to locating jacks at night as these areas promote increased baitfish activity. Live baits fished around the bridges, rock walls and other structure will also reward the less active angler not keen on working lures. Herring, pike, prawns and mullet are some of the prime offerings when fished lightly weighted adjacent to prominent structure. ESTUARY COD Often found in the same spots as jacks, estuary cod are serious targets for the estuarine and inshore angler. Both black and gold-spot can be caught to over 10kg in weight, but most are less

than 2kg. They can put up quite a scrap on the average spin and baitcasting tackle that anglers use for jacks and a sturdy thumb-lock on the spool. A degree of luck goes into almost every capture.

they’re still in the water to maximise their chance of survival. Vibration lures, especially soft ones, are extremely popular and productive. Working these

locations such as the mouths of small drains and gutters leading from the mangrove flats, collapsed mangrove banks, deeper holes, edges of riverbank contours and deeper channels. Fish

Mangrove jack are aggressive estuarine predators and will eat a wide array of food items. This one decided a crab was pretty good fare until he felt the sting of the hooks. The bay island shallows are good estuary cod territory. The rock walls at the mouth of the Brisbane River and the northern and eastern sides of Mud Island, as well as the fringing reefs of Peel (beware of the Green Zone exclusion area), the shallow reef and rubble areas around the bay islands and the numerous jetties and other structure in the Brisbane River will all hold quality cod. Lures cast close to the structure, preferably banging and rattling across it, will produce. Live and dead baits work well, however the amount of water that can be covered with lures usually means a higher catch rate. THREADFIN During warmer months, higher concentrations of threadfin tend to be in the lower reaches of the river systems, especially in the Brisbane River. The area downstream from the Gateway Bridge is where most anglers concentrate their efforts, although there are still threadies to be found further up. Large numbers of threadfin will often school up in the lower reaches commonly around the prawn or herring schools. Some anglers manage numerous large fish in a session, releasing most of them while

lures close to the bottom, bouncing them along in small hops, will increase the threadfin’s chance of locating and engulfing them, because their eyesight is poor and they locate most of their food through vibration. For this reason, live bait will always out-fish dead offerings, as threadies can home in on the struggling morsel. Prawns, herring and mullet are the most commonly used, but many work too. The decline into the river basin is a good spot to be putting your baits, especially at the start of the falling tide. The Oil Pipeline area is especially popular for live baiting and continues to produce the goods. Snapper, cod, bream, flathead and numerous undesirables like catfish, rays and sharks will also engulf your offerings. Claras Rocks, the Caltex Reach, deeper sections around the Gateway Bridge and the fronts of all the jetties along the river are also likely to hold threadfin. As they stress easily, threadies should be released quickly after a minimum of handling if they aren’t being kept for the table. CRABS Mud crabs are worth targeting this month in creeks, rivers and estuaries. Set a few safety pots in likely

heads and frames, chicken carcasses, whole mullet or even a few pilchards in a mesh bag will entice muddies into your pots. Leave your pots in during a tidal change, especially during darkened hours to heighten chances considerably. Unfortunately, it’s not a good idea to venture too far from pots these days, as crab pot raiding and theft is a problem. However, a feed of tasty mud crabs will definitely make your effort worthwhile. Sand crab numbers will also be ramping up. Better results usually come in a month or two, but every year is different. It will be worth setting pots with the aforementioned baits at locations throughout Moreton Bay and the mouth of major systems such as the Brisbane, Caboolture, Logan and Pine. Within the bay, the contours surrounding the bay islands, the deeper channels between the islands and the edges of prominent banks are all worthy spots to set your pots. What depth the crabs are mainly at can vary, so it’s a good idea to initially set your pots at a variety of depths between 4-12m until you start to see a pattern. The depths at which the pros have their pots set will also

give you an idea, but it’s not advisable to set your pots in the same run as they have a habit of disappearing in some areas. Find another location with a similar depth and you’re in the game. TUNA This time last year, longtail numbers were excellent throughout the bay. I caught numerous quality specimens in areas like the Measured Mile, northern side of the ‘Paddock’ green zone, Harry Atkinson area, west of the Four Beacons and around the main shipping channels, although they were present further south as well. The longtails were easy to approach and would eat almost anything you threw at them – most of mine were hooked on Maria Mucho Lucir 25g and 35g and Nomad Mad Scad 115 in the HGS and Sardine finishes. There were plenty of 15kg+ specimens that really gave a workout on 20lb spin gear. Hopefully, we’ll see a few more of these crackers this season. On calmer days, longtails can be located easily due to the disturbance as they smash baitfish on the surface, which is visible from quite some distance. Birds circling in the sky are a dead giveaway that something good is going to happen.

Position yourself in the general area to put you in with a great chance of being within casting distance once they break the surface. Longtails can be very profile oriented, so it pays to have a variety of offerings at your disposal to keep changing lures until there’s a result. Longtails hooked on larger lures, like stickbaits and pencil poppers, will generally knock up and be captured quicker, possibly because they can’t get their mouth shut properly. Those hooked on smaller lures, like slugs and jighead rigged jerk shads, will generally slog it out for longer, but sometimes you need smaller profiles to get a hook-up. The smaller tuna and bonito are usually around in decent numbers during November. These can commonly be found in the channels and edges of banks. On the higher tidal stages, frigate tuna and bonito will often be right up on the banks and we regularly catch them trolling lures for school mackerel in these areas. The Rainbow Channel, Pearl Channel, Rous Channel, Naval Reserve Banks area and bay island surrounds are all likely to hold few schools of these smaller pelagics. Small chromed slugs and slices and baitfish profiled flies are the main offerings

Sharks are generally a nuisance and will often take hooked fish, but they can also be a lot of fun to target and are great for teaching inexperienced anglers the skills of fighting a tough adversary. they respond to. Some larger mac tuna may eat a jerk shad plastic or smaller stickbait. MACKEREL School mackerel will still be the main species found

throughout the bay during November. These have been fairly prevalent since late September, although they weren’t always surface feeding. In recent months,

I’ve caught schoolies on pilchards drifted around the beacons and at the Harry Atkinson, lures trolled in the Rous Channel and on top of the Tangalooma Banks,

on chromed slugs jigged at the shipping channel beacons and micro jigs at the Harry Atkinson. Other reports have filtered in of schoolies taken on pilchards at the Measured Mile, edges of the reef at Peel, Rainbow Channel, Scarborough Reef, Curtin Artificial and Western Rocks area and numerous other spots. They’ve been fairly widespread and even during September, specimens to 75cm+ were caught. Numbers should increase during November and you may find them smashing the surface if baitfish schools are abundant. CONCLUSION Warmer months often result in increased aggression of many species and increased metabolism. Anglers can take advantage of their hunger and get a few piscatorial runs on the board this month. Early morning starts are very pleasant, but when the sun starts beating down you better apply sunscreen. Cover up to avoid a bad sunburn, which can have long lasting effects. Increased baitfish activity will also heighten many species’ activity and thinking anglers can use this to their advantage. Hot conditions produce hot angling action, so get amongst the awesome species on offer.


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You can have fun trolling, if you catch my drift BRISBANE OFFSHORE

John Gooding

November is a transitional month east of the South Passage Bar, with water temperatures on the rise, and anglers are starting to target the pelagic species. Mahimahi and a few small

in both the Point Lookout and Cape Moreton areas, but they haven’t shown up for the last couple years, so fingers crossed they do. High speed trolling with Halcos or smaller skirted lures is the go for these wahoo, which are usually in the 6-10kg range. Late November to early December usually sees a few

Wooli and Coffs Harbour south of the border saw good catches of Spaniards. The main reason was the warmer currents pushed further down the coast. They had 30°C+ and the bait and mackerel pushed south with this warm water. The word from far north QLD is that there’s been plenty of mackerel this year, so it’ll be interesting to see what sort of season we get here in the southeast. On charter of late, good

The author with a solid amberjack that ate a pilly meant for a snapper. snapper have been keeping us busy. This should continue over the next couple of months. I find the Shallow Tempest area and the under

grounds like the 42 fathom fish consistently this time of year. Between Square Patch and Deep Tempest there’s a lot of ground in depths between 85-95m that can hold good numbers of fish. It’s possible in this area, if you get a good drift line, to drift for a couple of kilometres pulling fish right along the drift as you pass over the many lumps and drop offs 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

A quality snapper caught on the 35s. black marlin have been caught and their numbers will increase in the coming months along with Spanish mackerel and wahoo. In past years, we’ve often had an early run of small wahoo turn up late November to December

Spanish mackerel turning up on the Coffee Rock Reefs along Moreton Island, as well as around Shag Rock off North Straddie. After several boom years on Spanish mackerel, last year wasn’t as good, as the fish seemed to bypass us and areas like

A free-spooled snapper caught on the 33s.

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As the weather heats up, so does the fishing! MORETON BAY

Ryan Smith

Summer is quickly approaching – warmer and longer days are in the near future. November is going to be an excellent month

for a variety of species in the southern bay, which include a large number of flathead and bream cruising the flats! Flathead have been in good numbers recently and have been caught on the last half of the run-out

This bream smashed a Megabass Dying Fish on sunrise.

tide around draining flats and creek mouths. Soft plastics have been nailing the flathead and anything around 3-5” will work a treat. My favourite is the Atomic 3” Prong. Being bottom feeders, flathead require a heavy jighead that can reach the bottom, which is used with soft plastics. Anything between the 1/8-1/2oz size with a hook to match the plastic being used is ideal. When chasing these fish on lures, you need to be able to cover ground. Drifting is a great way to do it. Drift and cast in front of the boat for a very successful technique. This lets you cover a large area. Bream are in feeding mode after spawning and should be fired up throughout this month. I’ve been targeting them recently on surface lures and am having great success! When chasing bream on the surface, lowlight periods are preferred. During the day can also be very successful. Any area with less than 1m of water with some kind of structure on the bottom is a great place to start. The structure can be anywhere from a sand flat with yabby holes to an oyster-encrusted

The author with a flathead taken on an Atomic 3” Prong with a stinger hook. rock bar. My favourite areas to chase this little sportfish on surface are shallow muscle beds around Macleay and Coochiemudlo islands. Lures that have been successful in these areas are the Atomic K9 Walkers, Atomic Pop 50, Bassday Sugar Pens and the Megabass Dying Fish in natural colours. For the bait fishos, any bait with a bit of smell in it has been producing quality fish lately. Baits such as mullet fillet, mullet gut, squid and chopped pilchards have been the best choices.

When chasing bream on bait, it’s very important to have a berley trail going to draw the fish in. A berley trail can be as simple as a few broken up pieces of bread chucked out into the water every few minutes. Snapper have been on the chew, but are few and far between. Best reports have been coming from Potts Point on Macleay Island and the artificial reef off Peel Island. The preferred method of catching these fish has been on a snell rig with squid, gar or mullet used as bait. Throughout the

month, I’ve been seeing a lot of crab pot floats out on the water. Crabbing has been fairly slow from reports, but it’s still early in the season. It was a big season for squid in the southern bay with many good reports of quality squid being caught. There are still a few squid around and if you’re willing to put the effort in, you’ll reap the rewards. Redland Bay, Victoria Point, Cleveland and Manly foreshores are good places to start your hunt for some calamari. Wi t h summer approaching, mangrove jacks will be on most anglers’ minds, with a few reports already of jacks up the creeks and canals harassing bait. Summer whiting are already in the bay with reports of fish coming from the Banana Banks, Pelican Banks and the mouth of the Logan River. November is surely going to be a great month for fishing in the southern bay with a variety of species to be caught! If you want to follow my fishing adventures, like my Facebook page – Ryan’s Fishing, and follow me on Instagram Until next month, tight lines and screaming drags.


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Shallows activity will be full to the bream NORTHERN BAY

Grayson Fong

If you haven’t been fishing this month, you better have a really good excuse. With the warm weather and increased water temperatures, the northern bay is aging like a good red wine. Fishing activity is always aplenty during the warmer months in our much-loved bay, which is attributed to the warm currents from up north flowing down into the many rivers and creeks that border the area. Also, the increased frequency of northerly winds around this time of the year greatly assists the water temperature change, making fish more active in their feeding. FLATHEAD This month has been great for the flathead anglers, with good numbers being found in the Pumicestone Passage, Caboolture River and the lower reaches of the Pine River. Sandgate foreshore has also produced some good catches, along with little-known sleeping giant Cabbage Tree Creek, keeping locals entertained on the ebbing tides. Large shad style and paddle-tailed soft plastics have been the choice of most anglers, with bright colours being the standout, especially sessions after an afternoon storm. ZMan Jerk ShadZ, Squidgy Flick baits, Berkley Jerk Shads and the

Mick Thompson enjoying a bit of summer breaming. new ZMan Trick SwimZ have been the popular choice over the last month and should work as the water temperatures climb. Land-based flathead fishing has been really trendy with many motivated anglers

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of late, and soft plastics are the perfect choice for this technique, especially when fishing waters of varied depths. When on a boat, drifting has been the most popular technique with a hop-hop-pause retrieve getting the numbers in the boat. BREAM This is one of my favourite times of year to chase bream, as the warmer weather makes bream very active feeders at all times of the day. Tide times really play a vital part in finding bream at this time of year, as due to the increased water temperatures, bream aren’t afraid to chase food in the shallows as the tide rises.

This plays right into the hands of land-based and small boat anglers, or those choosing estuaries as their arena for the day. This would explain why areas like Ningi flats, Donnybrook flats, Cooks and Tiger rocks have been firing latey, with good bream on the making tides. The Pumicestone Passage has been a good fishery for those wanting to chase bream over the last month with the increased northerly winds making it a perfect place to refuge on the really rough days. Redcliffe Peninsula has also been a good breaming option of late, due to the diversity that the area provides. North Reef has been fishing well, along with the Newport canals, especially on the top of the tide. The Wells, mouth of Bald Hills Creek and the highway bridge up the Pine River have been firing on the bream with lightlyweighted fresh baits like mullet, cooked prawns and raw chicken along with stick minnow type lures proving to be the winners. Further south, Cabbage Tree Creek has not only been a good flathead fishery in the lower reaches, but also a good bream fishery, and bream have been caught between the yacht club around to the trawler moorings up river. Land-based anglers have been reporting good bream at the start of the run-out tide with baits rigged on a simple sinker-swivel- hook rig with a trace length of 30cm minimum. SAND WHITING Sand whiting are everybody’s favourite delectable table fish, and this is a great time to chase them! Scavengers by nature, this species really has a love for the warmer weather, with their preference in the shallows making it easy for land-based anglers to get amongst the action.

Live yabbies, bloodworms and fresh squid have been the choice baits with areas of interest being at Lime Pocket, the mouth of Coochin Creek, Elimbah Creek and the southern beaches around Woorim. Margate foreshore has had a slow start over the last few weeks, but the increase in angler population lined up along the sand has been a dead give away that things are firing up, especially in the lower light hours. Hays Inlet has also

been working well for sand whiting, with the run-in tide working well especially for the jetty-based anglers. TIP OF THE MONTH Australia has among the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. Statistics show that two in three Australians will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer before they reach the age of 70. With this said, don’t become a statistic and be smart when enjoying our waterways, so sunscreen up, cover up and stay hydrated!

Structure fishing is the name of the game when it gets warmer in the northern bay.

Time to turn up the fishing heat CALOUNDRA

Damian Parker

This month, our local water temperatures increase and so do the fish numbers. We’re spoilt for choice as the pelagic fishing fires up towards December. Anglers will be dusting off their mackerel and tuna lures in anticipation for

another cracking summer season. Currently there are good numbers of marlin, sailfish, school mackerel and tuna all on the chew. Our deeper, reefs and wrecks wide of Caloundra and the Barwon Banks are producing good quality snapper, tuskfish, pearl perch, cod and kingfish. There are good numbers of cobia about and you know how much I love to rave on about these brutes. Take

Taylor with a flathead caught in Pumicestone Passage.

the time to gather live bait. Whether you’re on a reef or a wreck, work the moon phase and tide changes and you’ll be connected in no time at all. The close inner reefs around Mooloolaba, Gneerings, Currimundi and Caloundra are producing a mixed bag of species including snapper, sweetlip, kingfish, cobia and mackerel. Provided you fish sun up or sunset periods of the day, you’ll no doubt have bends in rods. As the water temperature increases, so does the day temperature – the good old “Slip Slop Slap” is a must. In the later part of the day, it’s best to locate yourself in a depth of 50m+ and sometimes 100m. Areas east of the Barwon Banks and the Hards are the best to fish. Do the miles and get the smiles. These wider grounds around November are a pelagic playpen for marlin, tuna, mahimahi and sailfish as well as quality bottom dwellers such as snapper, pearl perch, tuskfish, cod, and kingfish. Use a mixture of fresh bait, livies and lures and always be on the lookout for busting bait schools

and working birds. You never know what lurks below. The estuaries have been slower as of late due to the increased water temperatures, especially in the shallow areas of the Pumicestone Passage and surrounding waterways. There are still plenty of bream about to be caught, but work the deeper holes, drop offs or shaded pontoons for best results. We should see more flathead and whiting being caught throughout November – the Pumicestone Passage, Military Jetty and the Caloundra River mouth are all notorious hot spots. Hardbody lures worked in and around structure such as bridge pylons, jetties and pontoons. Early morning or late afternoon will see you battling more aggressive XOS bream. Please remember to release the larger fish as we need these to continue our breeding cycles. Fish for the future! There will be a good change this month to rustle up a tasty feed of mud and blue swimmer crabs. November and December are prime months for both varieties to be out and

D E L L I R H T You will be e... with th

Bryce with a snapper caught at the Currimundi Reef. about. There are so many different spots to fish around the estuaries and canal systems right across the Sunshine Coast but one of my all time favourites is the Maroochy River system. The famous Cod Hole, Chambers Island, and the many flats and shallows around this area are awesome. I love taking my family

to the river, whether I’m onshore, in the tinnie or the kayaks, there’s always plenty of smiles because fishing with your family and friends is the best therapy you can get. If heading offshore this month, pack an arsenal of overheads, spin gear, baits, lures and sunscreen, because as the temperature turns up, so do the fish!

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It’s all about the red devils! Reef off Double Island, Coffees and North Reef have been the best spots, but we’re also seeing bigger fish right down toward Caloundra Wide. This may have something to do with the abundance of bait out there at the moment. Fishing a slimy or yakka out the back on a floater setup is one of the better options. When chasing pelagics, there are a couple of basic things that will improve your chances – looking for bird activity is the top of the list. Larger fish


Peter Wells

It’s been a crazy start to the pelagics season. Mackerel, tuna and mahimahi are really firing as the warmer currents start to make their way down Australia’s Eastern seaboard. It’s fairly unusual to see big mackerel so early in the season, but there have been some outstanding fish boated over the last month. Usually we see the smaller school mackerel,

Diving birds and surface activity are dead giveaways. Next on the list is working the edges of the reefs. The longer ribbon type reefs are where I’ve had the most success. There’s a pressure point where the tidal movement pushing up against the reef creates an abundance of food, so predators love to cruise these areas. This is where I get my deep diving lures out and have a troll. The Samaki Pacemaker is a fantastic deep diving lure on the market. They come in

Golden trevally can be a lot of fun on light gear. then the spotted, and of course the Spanish. The larger ones turn up later in the season. The Northern




like mackerel and tuna will force the bait to the surface as they feed, and this in turn gets the birds feeding.



some realistic colours and a range of sizes that can be trolled at up to 12 knots. Keep an eye on the sounder

while trolling the edges of the reef, as you’ll find those bigger rogue fish this way. For those of you working the bottom, there have been some great catches of pearl perch coming from the outer reef with the Hards and Barwon Banks producing some crackers. Other species to hit the decks have been cobia, snapper, mulloway, and trout. For those of you in smaller craft, the southern reefs out of Maroochydore and Mooloolaba have been firing. The Gneerings, Coolum Reef, Handcock and Arkwright Sholes have all produced squire, sweetlip, coral trout, and cobia, as well as good quantities of mackerel and tuna. In the rivers, both the Noosa and Maroochy have seen good quality whiting. The Noosa, Dog Beach and the Frying Pan are the prime areas. In the Maroochy, give Black Banks and Chambers Island a go. For bait, freshly pumped yabbies have been very productive as well as beach and bloodworms. This is the time of the year when it’s all about the red devils – those soughtafter mangrove jack. Many finesse anglers judge our whole year on how many of these amazing fish we can tangle with. Jacks have to be the ultimate river predator, living in snags and under structure. There’s a great many anglers that spend an enormous amount of time

A solid jack caught by Ben Pirolo. fundamentals right. Fishing good quality braid is a must – I like to fish an 8-carrier braid around 15lb, using an FG knot down to 20lb fluorocarbon leader. J-Braid from Daiwa and Power Pro from Shimano are both perfect for the job. I’ve recently discovered the Ice Clear from Shogun, it’s a supple leader and ties really well. Suspending lures are the way to go. Lucky Craft Pointers are an all-time favourite, but I also like the Pontoon 21s. Suspending lures get in front of the fish’s face that bit longer is the trick. The weather




Matt McGann was happy with this brace of quality pearl perch.

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and money trying to lure them from their snaggy homes. For me, it’s all about lures, but a lot of anglers have great success with live bait. Whichever way you go, you’ll have to get the

also has a great deal to do with the way these fish feed. If there’s stormy weather around, you’ll find they feed more aggressively. Live bait’s the best and poddy mullet or herring are

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perfect. When the prawns are running, live prawns are also a cracker bait. Another plentiful fish at the moment is flathead. Big girls touching a metre have been taken from the rivers. Soft plastics like the Keitech Easy Shiners and the Samaki Boom Baits have both produced great fish. On the beach we’re seeing the return of the tailor after spawning up at Fraser Island – large fish touching 10lb have been taken around the river mouths and along Noosa’s North Shore. The humble pilchard has been the prime bait, but fresh mullet or bonito fillet have also captured good fish. Mulloway are also on the cards at this time of the year and tailor or fresh mullet are both prime baits. Whiting and dart are everywhere on the beaches and are great fun for the family. Look for those deeper gutters and fish a couple of hours either side of the high tide. Cast to the back of the gutter rolling your bait under the white water. Prawns, worms and yabbies are the perfect baits. • For all the latest information log onto www.fishingnoosa. Drop into Davo’s Tackle world Noosa or Davo’s Northshore Bait & Tackle at Marcoola to find out where the fish are biting, and remember tight lines and bent spines!

MAP IT. OWN IT. SHARE IT. I can’t believe how good this map is I just downloaded free off the Quickdraw™ Community. Look at this structure, those drop offs. Never would have known about this lake without the community. It’s fun fishing new water. I’ve already caught two nice keepers. Of course, I’ve uploaded some pretty nice maps, too. Glad someone decided to share this one.


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Snapper season set to hit a fantastic frenzy RAINBOW BEACH

Ed Falconer

We ’ r e rapidly approaching the end of the year. Hopefully the weather remains on its best behaviour, just like it has been lately. Offshore, we’ve had a fantastic run of snapper. It was the new moon period that sent the snapper into a frenzy with some excellent sized fish. We reached our bag limit on a few occasions with the compulsory fish at 700mm+ and three fish

Another cracking snapper caught by Ben.

Reds and snapper will be on the chew in November.

under 700mm. Some of my clients nearly cried having to send the bigger ones back over the side. That’s some fantastic fishing! Pearl perch continue to bite well along with Moses perch, tuskfish, amberjack and some nice red emperor. In the Great Sandy Straits, there’s been a lot of activity, particularly around Inskip Point with big schools of longtail tuna. They’ve been really active early in the morning and only about 20m offshore. They were smashing into frogmouth pilchards, so it’s necessary to duplicate the lure with the size of the bait they’re chewing on. They weren’t big fish, but there were hundreds of them and they’re great fun on the light gear. There have been good

The girls have been getting stuck into great fish like these nice pearlies. catches of summer whiting – Kauri Creek and the old logging ramp on Fraser Island have been the hot spots. Last November was really good fishing and great weather. From memory, big snapper were on the menu and we didn’t

have to go too far offshore to find them. • To enjoy a day on the water with Keely Rose Fishing Charters phone Ed Falconer 0407 146 151 or visit www. keelyrosefishingcharters

Hot trolling bay-time action HERVEY BAY

Scott Bradley

November is here already, meaning it’s all about to go crazy with Christmas around the corner. It’s a good time to get on the water between the pelagic, reef and estuary species on offer – there are plenty of options this month. Flathead are going nuts in the warmer water in the bay with good numbers of 50-70cm

fish around. Look for bait schools of herring, mullet and hardiheads in the shallows. There’s bound to be a few lizards working the area. Summer whiting are continuing to improve in size and numbers. Quality baits like live yabbies and worms are catching the better fish. Golden trevally are worthwhile on the flats over the summer months and can be targeted on lures, flies and bait along our mainland beaches, and of course, Fraser Island. Threadfin salmon have



been in epic numbers in the past and the next few months are the best time to chase them. Fish over 130cms are a real possibility and they’re prolific in the Mary and Susan river systems, making them a worthwhile option regardless of the wind. For trolling anglers, the water temperature has cracked the 23°C mark in Platypus Bay. We’ve been waiting for it to really kick the Hervey Bay black marlin into gear. I’ve had a couple of trips up to Rooneys in late September and early October to see what’s going


Every Saturday 4.30pm on 46


on and had plenty of strikes from school mackerel and bonito, but couldn’t find a bill. On the days we were up there, the surface action was non-existent with not a bird was in the sky. Hopefully we see increased surface bust ups from longtails, mac tuna, spotted mackerel and the little black marlin moving in to feed inside Rooneys Point. Across the bar, big numbers of black marlin are actively feeding and there are good fish amongst them. We know they’re on the way, if not already here.

A nice longtail caught by Craig McCrea at Wathumba.


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Everyone’s hoping for an end to the weed woes FRASER COAST

Phil James

November’s a tricky, frustrating month on both the beaches of Fraser Island and inshore Hervey Bay. On the ocean beach, the scourge of brown weed that moved in just in time for the school holidays and continued well into October may still be making its presence known. We’ve been relatively free of the brown weed for around eight years. Prior to this there were about five years of infestation during the latter months of the year. Fishing from the beach has been difficult to say the least. There were some indications that the weed was about to clear with clean stretches of beach lasting for a day or two. During these rare times small catches of tailor were made. The overall quality of these fish was excellent. If the weed conditions permit this month, there should still be plenty of late season tailor as well as whiting and the ever-reliable dart. Prior to the weed infestation, there were excellent catches of whiting right along the beach, very encouraging after some

lean years. On Fraser’s western beach, we often see weed washing ashore and clogging up inshore waters. This is a different type of weed compared to that on the eastern beach. This infestation happens more regularly at this time of the year and is thought to be the result of winter weed growths being dislodged by seasonal strong northerlies. With fishing close to impossible on the ocean beach, many anglers were heading for the western beach during school holidays. With just one route available, the single lane Woralie track, traffic congestion made the trip difficult. Reports from the western beaches have not been exciting. The best reports are of good bream around the coffee rocks taken on unweighted hardiheads or half pilchards. Plenty of whiting were available along the beaches, but the majority were undersized. I don’t usually become excited about making the trip across the island at this time of the year. Opportunities to make the boat trip to the outer northern parts of Hervey Bay don’t come along often in this period of seasonal northerlies. Those who’ve taken advantage of flat

Taken on an 85g Raider during a rare break in the weed at Poyungan Rocks in early October. conditions in recent months have returned with the usual assortment of scarlets, grass sweetlip, hussar, trout and cod. Best results have been coming in from the Southern and Northern gutters. Those who have made the run out through Breaksea Spit to the shoals have remarked on the abundance of red-throat emperor and easily legal red emperor. Close to home, the Eight Mile off Arch Cliff is fishing fairly well for golden trevally and scarlets.

Fortunately, there don’t seem to be as many sharks spoiling the fun as there have been throughout winter. Scarlets (nannygai) are often prolific, but one might take a dozen fish before one of legal length turns up. As expected, whiting dominate the scene for light gear anglers. We can just about forget the diver whiting of the winter months. After a disappointing season, we can now turn our attention to the so-called ‘summer whiting’ –

sand and golden lined whiting. At the Urangan Pier and along the city beaches, a mixture of both species have been available. The early morning flooding tide has produced the most catches. The better class of fish always comes from the inner gutter of the pier with yabbies and worms doing the damage. At Shelly Beach, the catch is likely to include quite a few that don’t make the grade. Sand whiting can be identified by the prominent black spot at the base of each pectoral fin. As well as having more golden fins, the golden lined whiting has no pectoral fin spot and the tail lobes tend to be more rounded than that of the sand whiting. Both species, as well as the northern whiting, need to make it to 23cm in length. My favourite way to target sand whiting is to go ashore on one of many sandy banks on about half tide out, then walk around fishing the various drains and spits until half tide in. These shallows are ideal for targeting whiting with small poppers and other artificials. Live yabbies also work well and these can be easily pumped on many of the good banks. This is not only a good way to score fish, but it’s good for the body.

For the last couple of months, flathead have been the target of choice for anglers fishing the shallows in Hervey Bay and in neighbouring creeks and rivers. Most are using artificials of almost infinite variety. For myself, the go to offering when working the shallows is the ZMan 5” jerkshad in electric chicken. I’ve just been introduced to some of ZMan’s exciting new colour variations and look forward to testing them out. The mouths of island creeks have been turning on excellent fish. Away from creek mouths, anywhere that coffee rocks or sandstone meet sand will usually host flathead. It’s almost time to think about Hervey Bay’s shallow reefs, but we need to keep in mind that water temperatures might still be fairly low. Next month we’ll see more of our reef species coming into the shallows. Of course painted sweetlip, bream and squire are likely catches. As we approach summer, grass sweetlip, blackspot tuskfish, Moses perch and stripies should move in as well. In the meantime, the best option is to fish deeper inshore reefs such as the Channel Hole, Boges Hole and the main channel just outside the Urangan Boat Harbour.


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Barra are feeding up LAKE MONDURAN

Rob Howell

The previous month at Monduran brought along some unseasonal wind directions. Normally at this time of year we expect good and constant winds from the north or southeast, but so far we have had to work around two or three different wind directions per day. These type of conditions make fishing difficult, and can send an angler into a spin when looking for a starting point to target impoundment barra. When the fishing is tough, technology can make all the difference. These days, sidescan sounders have been giving us a good understanding on how these impoundment barra operate. For example, we can see how barra react to wind conditions. When the wind is constant they school up together, and when that constant wind kicks in for a longer period of time their numbers increase,

which makes them more likely to feed. On the other hand, if the wind is variable, they will tend to separate from their large, schooled-up groups and spread out into much smaller numbers, which makes them harder to target. This is where sidescan technology will give you the advantage in tough conditions. You need to spend time watching your sounder while moving around, marking out the largest number of schooled barra to maximise your chances of getting a bite. Out in the market place today, there’s an increasing number of reputable brands offering a range of different size units with side imaging technology to suit every angler’s budget. To ensure you get the sounder that suits your needs, your are better off consulting with experts in this field. If you’re in the area, drop in and see the team at Tackle World Bundaberg for some expert advice. BARRA CHECKLIST The barra in Monduran are feeding up and getting fat.

Over the last month there have been some big barra hitting the decks in between the unfavourable winds. These barra have measured between 1-1.1m in length, weighing an estimated 20kg to 25kg. These fish can be brutal, and there’s no doubt they will test every part of your equipment to the limit. I have put together a checklist of essential barra hardware you will need on your next trip to the lake. • Line – 30-50lb braid • Leader – 60-80lb supple mono or 50-60lb fluorocarbon • Rods – 6-8kg • Reels – 4000 series spin reels and low profile baitcasters with reasonable drag of 6kg or more When it comes to lures, there’s a range of good options to try. Hardbody lures like the Jackall Squirrel, Rapala XXX-Rap 10, Storm Twitch Sticks and Storm Thunder Barra have all been successful. If you like using soft plastics, the 6” ZMan

Shane Adams from the Sunshine Coast had a great October long weekend boating his first ever barra, which measured 104cm. SwimmerZ, Squidgy Pro Slick Rigs and 8” Happy Rock Softies have all been working well. • Our team here at Lake Monduran look forward to seeing you in the near future

for some great barramundi action. For charter, houseboat and accommodation bookings please contact us via email at or call us on (07) 4157 3881 or my mobile 0410 599 147. We

also have more information available on our website at For more up-to-date barra info and pics, look up Lake Monduran Guidelines Fishing Charters on Facebook.

Brawny jacks back to smack BUNDABERG

Call Jamie today to book your next trip Ph: 0407 434 446

Jason Medcalf

It’s my favourite month of the year, big jack month. This excites me, because in our area, big mangrove jack fire up as the water temperature rises with longer days. The mangrove jack isn’t actually classed as an estuarine species, as it only spends its first few years of life in estuaries before moving offshore to mature and breed. In some areas, mangrove jack will spend longer inshore and that’s why you’ll get some big fish in creeks and rivers, but for the most

Jacks are hard fighters, but a lot of fun!








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Fishing in the ‘yak can get you into great jack areas, free from a lot of the angling pressure. part, once they reach around the 50cm mark they’ll head out to sea. It’s these fish in our area that fire up early

in the season, usually beating the smaller fish to your lure or bait. I mentioned last year how popular the mangrove jack had

become and this trend only seems to be getting stronger. There’s something special about mangrove jack with their smash and grab tactics when they hunt – you have to be on the ball when fishing for them. This past year, I’ve spent time kayak fishing for them and have had my rear end handed to me on a number of occasions. I choose to fish from my Hobie a fair bit. With the growing popularity of jack fishing, I find fishing less pressured water brings a bit more success. It also adds more of a challenge. Being at water level changes the way you cast, retrieve a lure and fight fish. Finding places to slip a kayak in to fish for jacks isn’t as hard now with Google Earth opening up opportunities for those that are a bit keen for adventures.

The mangrove jack life cycle has them pushing their way up creeks and rivers as far as they can go while they’re very small, as there are less predators and they grow very fast in fresh water. Those keen anglers that have caught mangrove jack in their boat stay in the Elliott River. You can guarantee they’re up in the upper reaches that you can get a boat into. This is true for nearly every system in our region – I’ve fished a lot and caught mangrove jack in most of them. The only prerequisite is to make sure there’s no weir or dam that stops the fish migration up stream on your creek or river. Get out there and enjoy your month. Put in some time on the mangrove jack and hopefully you’ll meet with some hardcore fishing.









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Great weather better for November fishing 1770

Des Carnell

With warmer weather, offshore night fishing has been worth the trip lately. Big schools of grunter are coming on the chew the minute the sun goes down. Grunter hang around the 6 mile Cetacea Wreck and the Banana Gutter at night. They love a well-presented squid and the latest boxes of California squid are some of the highest quality, best condition baits I have ever seen. Use two 6.0 hooks ganged and a light lead to catch these lovely table fish. The average has been around 2kg – a great fighting fish. For the headland fishers, longtail tuna have been providing great fun and good eating. You don’t need a boat – they can be caught off The Catwalk on 1770 Headland. The red fish didn’t disappoint in September and October and there was plenty of weather windows to chase them. Red Emperor, small and large mouth-nannygai were in abundance on the deeper rubbly reefs inside and outside the Bunker Group. Plenty of coral trout were taken from the wides, 8 fathom patch, Fitzroy bommies and the weather face at Boult Reef. The West Warregoes continue to produce quality trout, probably because it’s so close to the large Warregoes green zone. My son Chris chased yellowtail on the deeper wrecks and after pulling a kingy up from deep, its mates were easy targets for cast stickbaits. November is the month when our grey smelly algae blooms flourish off 1770. It also signals great reef fishing. Sometimes the blooms are so thick they sit in huge patches and look like sand banks. A

Chris Carnell nails his favourite species: yellowtail king. lot of people call this coral spawn, but that’s a mistake. Probably the worst thing about the blooms is they wash ashore and coat the beach in a smelly, muddy looking slick and some of our campers have mistakenly reported it as an oil slick. Luckily, it’s only around for a few weeks and the beaches are pristine again by Christmas. November is a great month to come reef fishing at 1770 with mostly calm weather when the town is quiet before Christmas. When camping in 1770, stay at the boaties’ paradise, 1770 Camping Ground. – Des Carnell 1770 ESTUARY Over the last month we’ve had glorious patches of weather with clear blue skies and light winds.

This has seen the water temperature in local creeks hit 25°C by mid-morning. These rising temperatures have woken a few of our estuary brawlers from their wintery slumber. Those lucky enough to fish the run-out tide to a mid-afternoon low have been rewarded with mangrove jack and barra. Fishing tight to structure has been the key to tempt one of these brawlers to smack your presentation. I’ve been using Zerek Hot Legs and Keitech Easy Shiners in 4 and 5”, rigged on the TT SnakelockZ Heads in 1/4 and 3/8 to get into the back of snags. Tight drags and high concentration levels are must in this situation. Watch your line for any visible signs of a hit to help with your reaction. As your plastic flutters down

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on the drop, a high visibility braid can help in too. When fishing with high visibility braid, run a long 30lb fluoro carbon leader of 1.5m, especially in clear water. Trevally and small queenfish have been actively feeding up the creeks in the 1770 area. Many of these have been smacking lures that are quickly retrieved after casting for barra and jacks at the back of snags. I’ve enjoyed countless sessions with my children in Round Hill Creek pumping yabbies to chase whiting over the many sand flats this creek has. Pumping yabbies can prove challenging at times with the creek holding thousands of tiny yabbies. The trick is to keep moving around the creek until you find a bank with bigger holes than the others. I’ll move up to four or five times. Armed with a bucket of yabbies, my daughters and I have hours of fun on whiting and bream. Fishing from the banks off the 1770

Wayne and Laura Bryant with a beaut barra. continue to rise into summer and stir those jacks into more action. Remember, the closed season for barra is approaching and if you hook one while jack fishing, handle it with care and release it so we can continue to have a healthy population of the silver beauties in our creeks for the future.

month closure to protect this valued fish species during the summer wet season. “The barramundi closed season applies to all commercial and recreational fishers,” he said. “It’s important that barramundi are not targeted for catch and release during a closed season as the stress of capture

Kira Bryant and her prize flathead. Campground has seen my daughters catch up to 25 fish per session. Fish the last hour of the run-out and first hour of the run-in – this has proved most successful. Most fish have been undersized and released with care, but we usually manage a small feed of whiting much to the delight of my daughters. The joy on the kids’ faces catching these fish is priceless. Flathead have been feeding up for their annual spawn. Troll small deep diving lures over sand bars and along mangrove lined banks. We’ve had success on the Wilson Tango Shads and Pig Lures, which are made on the Gold Coast. Pig Lures are great to get extra depth along some of the edges of the deeper holes toward the river mouth. Of course, flathead will take a yabby and drifting the banks with one will also yield a lizard or two. If you want to get the kids onto bigger fish, this is definitely the go. We landed flathead up to 60cm with most around the high 40cm mark. Good luck for the coming month as water temperatures

Wayne Bryant with a huge 52cm jack. The annual barramundi closed season along QLD’s East Coast will be effective from midday 1 November to midday 1 February. Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol district officer Robert Ibell said officers will be stepping up surveillance during the three

may actually prevent the fish from spawning.” – Wayne Bryant • Stay at 1770 Camping Ground right on the beach at 1770, and for your local fishing advice call Tony or Josh Lunn at Agnes Water 1770 Bait & Tackle, phone (07) 4974 9304.

Spring in your step for the start of summer GLADSTONE

Eve Malone

As we move through the last of our spring into the summer months, some would say we’re in our prime fishing seasons of the year. With water temperatures warming nicely, and if the early catches are anything to

out, it was standing room only for the birds who were feeding off the mac tuna and mackerel runs, no more than a kilometre from the coast line. These are very exciting times ahead. With barramundi off the fishing menu for a few months, it’s a natural progression to target jacks. They’re fierce fighters and excellent table fish. Mangrove jack will happily take well presented

past, or lucky in our case. You’ll find them around any structure – rock walls, concealed rocks or timber, mangrove banks, bridge pylons and pontoons. Land and boating fishos have plenty of options to target them in both Calliope and the Boyne rivers, however the Boyne is starting to show signs of a great season ahead. Golden snapper are fishing well at night in the Boyne River, fish up to 70cm have been caught on live and dead bait like herring and mullet. Grunter are fishing well on the gravel grounds

in the Boyne, around South Trees Inlet and up around the mouths of Targinnie north to Port Alma. Grunter are showing excellent numbers with well sized threadfin and king salmon. Mulloway are still fishing well in the harbour, both undersized schools and fish up to 12kg are around the deeper holes on the north side. Soft plastics work well further north at Connors Creek. There have been great reports of very nice mulloway up around Rundle Island caught on whole mullet working the outgoing tides at night.

Nicholas with his tagged jack, ready to release.

Juvenile reds don’t come much prettier than this beautiful by-catch for Trent Hall. go by, it should be a cracker season for the almighty mangrove jack. Other shining stars showing their presence in our waters are of the pelagic kind. Marlin have shown out wide and on one of my last trips

baits such as prawns, mullet and sprat both live and dead, or hardbodies and soft plastics. They’re predatory fish and unless they’re on the move, they’ll be holding hard to structure only moving to take the unlucky bait swimming

Nicholas Hamilton caught and tagged some beauties on Eden hardbody lures in the Boyne River.

Pelagic action is starting to stir, both in close and out at the reefs. Spotties and mac tuna are hitting floated baits and trolled skirted lures around the mouths of the harbours and along the coastline up to Cape Cap. I’ve had reports of marlin being caught on pink skirted lures out at North West and along the shelf, which is very exciting for those who can travel that far. Spanish are active around Masthead and Erskine Island along with big golden trevally. The reds seem to have slowed a little, but are still

being caught around Wistari and Sykes. Coral trout catches are on the increase and this should only get better as we move through November into summer. All reefs are fishing well for redthroat and tuskies, so no matter the target, most will come home with a nice feed. I hope everyone got involved in the national fishing day last month, it’s an excellent way of showing how popular our sport is and how strong our voice can be. This day grows year by year and the idea is brilliant.


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Dam good spring days on offer GLADSTONE

Liam Jones

Warmer days are becoming more common and by November we should be averaging about 30°C days. As these days become more common, you can expect to see more and more people hitting the dam. Especially when the barra closure comes into play.

I have a feeling that Awoonga is going to start fishing well again this year. It’s been over two years now since it last went over the wall and good-size fish are starting to become more common. The hatchery is doing a brilliant job in regularly releasing fingerlings, so touch wood it doesn’t break the wall again any time soon and we can see it return to the fishery it used to be.

The author and Al McGlashan with a double hook up on a nice trout and coral cod.

When fishing the dam there’s a lot that comes into play, and although many people don’t think it, tides are also a major player when the barra decide it’s time to feed. Try targeting places like wind blown points and bays. A lot of people make the mistake of trying to get out of the wind. The wind will push the warmer water across to the side it’s blowing and with that comes the bait, and therefore the barra. A good selection of lures is essential. Shallow divers, deep divers, surface lures and plastics are all worth having, and it pays to have a good selection of them all. Some of my favourites are Jackall Squirels, and Lethal Lures in 2m, 4m and 6m diving depths. Lucky Craft Pointers, Castaics Jerky Js, Westin Shad Teez and Yakamito BK125s. The weather gods have been pretty nice of late and we’ve had quite a few good days in comparison to previous months. Those who have been lucky enough to get out have scored good numbers

of red-throat, coral trout and red emperor when fishing deeper isolated reefs. As the weather warms up, expect to see the lipper move up onto the shallows to spawn. This is the perfect time to throw a few stick baits and poppers and experience some of the most exciting fishing you will ever experience. Nothing beats seeing a pack of red-throat do battle for a stickbait or better, get a big trout rise from a hole and smash a popper. I like working the reef edge as the tide drops to the bottom, and as it begins to build, work my way up to the reef flat itself. Smaller profile stickbaits work best for red-throat and trout like Westin Swims and Nomad Madscads. Although be prepared to lose a few if a hungry GT or Spanish swims past. I recently had the opportunity to spend a day filming with Al McGlashan for his show Fishing With Mates. Stickbaiting the shallows was the plan of attack for the day but a few mishaps along the way made

A solid Awoonga dam barra taken on a Jackall Squirrel. for an interesting day. I won’t go into too much detail, you’ll just have to watch the show, but let’s just say there was plenty of laughs to be had and mostly at Al’s expense. With the tides doing us not many favours and only a few fish coming on board, the decision was made to head deeper and drop some jigs on isolated bommies paid dividends in the end, as we ended up with a few nice trout and lipper to end the day and Al was lucky enough to get a double hook up on one jig. I now have a new found

respect for fishing show presenters. I had no idea how much time and effort went into making a 23-minute episode. Keep an eye on up coming Fishing With Mates for the Rocky and Gladstone episode. • For more information on what’s biting, or to stock up with all the tackle and bait you need, drop into LJ’s Compleat Angler Gladstone at the Gladstone Marina on Bryan Jordan Drive. You can also check out the latest news, photos and specials at Facebook Compleat Angler Gladstone.

Expect a reel hot summer ROCKHAMPTON

Clayton Nicholls

The start to this summer has put blistering heat into the area, however this makes for some awesome freshwater afternoon fishing sessions. Plenty of people have still been getting mackerel and similar species out around the Kepple Island groups. Coorooman, Corio and the narrows have been fishing well, but during the majority of October, the Fitzroy was in flood,

us, closed season now applies to barra, however it doesn’t mean you can’t get out for a lure fishing session to target the many jacks, blue salmon and threadfins in the river, not to mention large bream and grunter up in the narrows. The river will likely be a no go zone this summer, after some big rainfall this winter with the gates of the barrage open for almost all of October. The freshwater side is at 100% capacity, so any amount of rain will set the river into flood again. That being said, once the port has had time to clean and salt up, the influx of fresh and in turn bait and nutrients

Connor from Frogleys Offshore pulled this great golden snapper. leaving the river a chocolate brown colour and full of weed. FITZROY AND THE NARROWS With 1 November upon 52


should be great for the king salmon and mud crabs. CREEKS AND BEACHES The estuaries are always loaded with fish this time of year during the transition of

winter to summer, especially with the mild nights upon us. There’s been quite a bit of prawn and mullet around, especially in areas like the causeway lake, making stocking up on bait very easy for those who like to do so. Many people are catching a lot of bream amongst the mangroves, flathead along the drop offs of sandbars and muddy ledges and a huge amount of tarpon and cod around the systems lately. In the channels through the estuaries and beach gutters, there’s been a lot of activity from blue salmon and queenfish, both of which are very fun sportfish that can be targeted by using lures or baits. There are a lot of great options for people heading into the estuaries to fish, whether you go up to Yellow Patch on Curtis Island or stay in closer to home targeting the Narrows or Corio Bay. The most important part lately has been matching the baitfish at the time. Recently, there have been a few hardbodies and plastics that have stood out for their catch rate. For hardbodies in the estuaries, the LuckyCraft Pointer range and Rapala XRap have been key standouts. On the plastics side of things, the ever-present in the tackle tray River 2 Sea Fish Candy vibe has still been performing wonders. Recently I’ve also been fishing my old-school Berkley PowerBait watermelon pearl scales on the back end of my jig heads.

FRESHWATER LAGOONS The freshwater lagoons around the area have plenty of activity this time of year and many of the accessible freshwater areas around the Rockhampton region hold some of Queensland’s most iconic species. Surface and sub-surface lures that mimic insects are a go to this time of year. The sheer amount of moths around at the moment is amazing. A nice walk the dog action on a small popper mimics the action of a moth that has landed on the water pretty well and will attract just about every species. Tarpon are a species you’ll come to grips with when fishing in the freshwater

Mitch has been smashing the jacks lately. He pulled this one from some great looking structure. lagoons around the area. There are hundreds of them, they hit hard, jump a lot and just make surface fishing that much more enjoyable. They don’t fight as hard as a barramundi would, but the number you can catch

Renee was able to land this lovely sickle running her NS Amped rod and Stradic FK reel.

per session makes up for that! Recently, the Lucky Craft Tone Splash was pulling good numbers until a big predator wrapped it around a log for me. Little cicada imitations and wakebaits have also been pretty good on freshwater species in the late afternoons. CRABBING If you’re wanting to catch a crab or two, the best bait lately is mullet head with catfish coming a close second. Fortunately mullet head can be bought from anywhere and it takes no time at all to rig a pot up with them. A simple bait clip between the eyes and the mullet head is good to go. The rules still apply at four pots per person with the pots and floats both labelled. Label kits can be picked up for next to nothing and come with a waterproof marker, labels and zippy ties. Do the right thing when out crabbing to preserve this fishing method for future generations.

Reefies are in top form YEPPOON

Scott Lynch

This month’s coral reef fin fish closure is from the 28 October to 1 November. Last closure we had guys talking over the radio about the trout and reds they had taken, not realising it was a closure. There is no excuse, particularly as everyone has a smartphone these days and the fisheries app is free. It gives you all you need to know from species identification to sizes and closures. On the note of closures, barramundi are off limits now until midday the 1 February.

most popular for the small boat anglers. Spotted mackerel and greys have been a bit hit and miss up until now. There have been a few around mainly at spots like Quartz, Ironpot and Forty Acre. The majority of mackerel caught these days are on chromies like Taipans and Flashas. High speed spinning gets them worked up to the point where they will grab anything that shines if it is retrieved fast enough. The old floating pilly is still the go for anyone else who doesn’t like to spin. Be aware of size and take limits as there are lots of fish around and the majority are undersized. Spanish mackerel have mainly been the local fish over

The author caught this good-sized grassy just past the islands. This gives them a chance to breed in peace and that combined with the local net free zones should give us one of the healthiest barra and king salmon fisheries anywhere. Do not target barra out of season, as it has been shown that a big female can drop her eggs from stress and that defeats the purpose of the closures. Over the barramundi closed season, we still have a few options for those addicted to them. Within a few hours’ drive is Awoonga and Callide to the south and to the north are Peter Faust, Eungella, Teemburra and Kinchant dams. They all have good stocks of barramundi, and some of the fish in the dams are huge, with fish well over 1200mm. This makes the time and effort that much sweeter. The dam take limit in the tidal closed season is one fish per person. We have had a pretty good run so far with the lesser mackerels and doggies turning up everywhere from reef patches to about 40km right back into the patches almost onshore. However, the majority of fish have been caught at the many mackerel spots in Keppel Bay. Ironpot, Ritamada, Findlays, Farnborough, Bangalee, Pelican, Claytons, Quartz, Wedge, Man and Wife, Halftide Rocks, Hannas, Forty Acre, Ross Reef, Square Rock, Outer Rock, Greasy Alley, Barren and the Rosslyn Bay Harbour wall are the

the previous month or so and as we move toward Christmas we will see the schools top up the local spots. Any of the usual spots from Conical, Man and Wife, Outer Rock, Barren Liza Jane and the Pinnacles will fire. Flat, Perforated and Manifold are all worth a shot too.

get in front of the moving schools when they could be mackerel. Several times in recent years we have bagged out on Spanish before even getting to the islands and have returned home early with a fine catch. While they are schooling like this and you know that it is the whitebaits they are hammering, it pays to go down a size or two in lures for a start. If the results don’t come, then start using bigger lures. Watson’s leaping bonito, mac and longtail tuna have been coming through the bay in decent sized schools. The ‘match the hatch’ theory holds true at the moment while they are feeding on small whitebait. Lots of anglers are using small plastics or the smallest chrome slugs they can find. When the fishing is hard, I always have a couple of small red and white feather jigs that seem to work when everything else is a struggle. While bonito are among the best bait for big Spanish mackerel, they also slab up very well for reefies and black jew. I always make sure there is a stack in the freezer rigged and ready for those calm early morning Spaniard runs. Mac tuna are mainly sportfish but they do make great reef strip baits. Longtails make a reasonable BBQ fish when slabbed then marinated in a light fish dressing. In the past few weeks there have been some monster fish taken from the beach at Sandy Point. I will have some pictures next month. These have ranged from a 15kg northern blue tuna (longtail) to a 8kg queenfish and various mackerels. Cobia are thick at present

Connor Duffy with a fun size mac tuna on his little Majorcraft Volkey combo. Matching-the-hatch is the key to fooling these fish. stay or move along. Once you have caught one big cobia, there isn’t much reason to stay and flog the school. I really like to target the smaller fish around 6-7kg because they are much easier to deal with on capture and they are that much quicker to fillet into meal sized portions. After the last trip, we took a few packs home for the table and it reminded me how good cobia can be if bled and iced down. They are a much better fish than people think, so in future I will definitely be taking home a few small ones. Cobia will usually take most baits or jigs and strip baits appear to work the best for me. The rig is also not that important when bottom fishing for them, but when they come up to the boat they can be very finicky. When this is the case, an unweighted pilchard or flesh strip has an edge over everything else. Reefies have been in top form in both quality and quantity of late. The closer bait grounds have been producing some big largemouth nannygai early in the morning. We try to stop and put a few live yakkas and scad into the boat on the way through to the deeper red emperor spots. Lately as we have pulled in the first string of baits, one of them has

been sent back down live. The results have been exceptional nannies. We only ever get one or two at a time before they shut down. We have tried overnight fishing in the same places with poor results other than some big cod, which I prefer to leave alone, and small sharks. The estuaries are going

great. As the weather warms up, the fish have come on: grunter, queenies, king and blue salmon. Whiting, flathead, bream, golden snapper and mangrove jack will be top of the list. Mudcrabs have started getting a bit bigger, although all the small just legals have been reasonably full.







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Deakin Smithwick with a fine Keppels coral trout. When you see birds working and no fish breaking the surface, chances are it’s mackerel. When the fish are breaking the surface it will be mostly any of the tunas or bonito depending on the size. We make much more of an effort to quietly and quickly

at virtually any of the reef patches or the structures in the bay right out to the wide grounds. We found some large schools of them on our last offshore trip. They prefer to hang in schools of similar sized fish, which made it easy for us to work out whether to NOVEMBER 2016


Three dams to get into for barra MACKAY

Keith Day

The heat is on and fish have responded well with good catches being reported all around, from the reef to the freshwater dams and streams. From late September through October, barra went nuts over live baits and lures with plenty of fish up to 1.2m being caught in the creeks from Rocky Dam to the south, right through to the Proserpine River. A good sign for the future is the good numbers of smaller fish around 45-55cm. Many of these fish will be legal size when the season reopens in February. With the closed season kicking off from 1 November, barra anglers will have to be content with fishing the three stocked impoundments

1.2m and they respond to a number of lure fishing styles as well as being legitimate fly targets with appropriate gear of course. Kinchant dam is a favourite venue for water skiers and jet skis and of a weekend can be very crowded with lots of boat activity. During the week, you’ll often have the dam pretty much to yourself. Barra can be found all over the dam, but look for wind blown shores as the bait tends to congregate here and the barra follow. They like to patrol the weed bed edges and around the weed islands, generally in less than 5m of water. This scenario is not hard to find in the dam and any little inlets or channels into the weedbeds should be thoroughly worked over with long casts. Work the lure all the way to the boat. Many barra have been hooked as the angler starts

MAFSA member Matt Trott checked out the Kinchant barra and landed this fish working the shallows along the southern side of the dam. here, Eungella, Kinchant and Teemburra dams. Each of these dams produces barra well over the metre mark with many now over

to lift the lure to make the next cast, so be ready for the instant action. Kinchant barra will also respond to trolling

hardbodies as well as the big plastics in 150mm or larger. Many trollers work from the old creek bed back towards the southwest shoreline and use lures that work 3-5m deep. Any of the wellknown Aussie lures like Reidy’s, Halcos or Gadens will work without needing upgrades of hooks and rings. Many imported lures are excellent, but they usually have flimsy hooks and rings that need changing. For casting, it’s best to have a range of hard and soft lures. On the plastics front, big paddle-tails like Reidy’s, Squidgies, Tropic Angler, ZMan, Storm and Castaic will all work and catch barra. Just make sure the hook and jig is up to the job. I recommend a minimum size of 5/0 be used. There are plenty of other soft paddle-tails on the market, but these are ones I’ve had success with. As always, talk to the staff in the local tackle shops for the latest news on lures. Surface luring is my favourite way to fish for barra. Kinchant is a good spot for this technique with plenty of weedbeds and lilies to work a surface lure around. I use a variety of poppers, the largest Tango Dancers and frogs with my preference being the ZMan PopFrogz, largest size in white. There are plenty of others that work as well and half the fun is in experimenting with new gear. While Kinchant has no timber, both Eungella and Teemburra dams have plenty and they’re home to some monster barra, but these areas are hard to fish and even harder to land a barra from among the heavy stuff. Eungella timber is not as dense as Teemburra and having been flooded for about 50 years, much of the smaller stuff has rotted away. Many areas of Teemburra are so thickly timbered, it’s

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Simon Fechner took advantage of light winds to try his luck near Siloth Rock and hauled in this trout, which was a welcome addition to the icebox. Jacks have been on the go over the last week or so in Murray, Victor and Constant creeks with a few having been reported from Sarina inlet and Rocky Dam Creek. Jacks will be found around rocks, heavy snags or freshly downed mangroves where they have ambush points among the leaves and branches, so get the lure in there and hang on. There are plenty of whiting about in the creeks and estuaries as well as

retrieve, or anchoring and berleying. Birds wheeling and diving are a reliable pointer to action, which may not always be visible on the surface. Most of the macs are caught slightly down in the water column, while tuna like to work bait on the surface. They’re great fun in the reach of even small tinnies. Reef fishing has been weather dependant, but good catches of grassy lippers, red throats, red emporer and

Casting a Woolly Bugger on a 4wt fly rod to the snags in the background produced this lively little Cattle Creek sooty for Lachlan Day.

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difficult to get a boat through. For this reason, most anglers tend to fish more open bays. Barra show up really well on sounders and will often be out in deeper water in numbers. If you find them like this, check around for the nearest prominent point or bay, anchor up quietly and fan casts out into the dam, the bay and along the points. If there’s a few regrowth trees or old stumps and some weed, you’ve likely hit the jackpot. This type of fishing requires patience, as you’re really playing a waiting game until the fish move from the deeper water into the shallows to feed. Again look for the windward shore. On a northerly, check out the bays, points and weed along the southern side of the dam, where the bony bream will be feeding on plankton. Use the same techniques and lures as previously described, and make sure your gear is up to scratch or you’ll get dusted big time. Sooty fishing also heats up in summer. A recent session in Cattle Creek rewarded Lachlan and I with half a dozen aggro little sooties to about 350mm, which in the running water on 4 and 6 weight fly rods were heaps of fun. MAFSA members will be keeping a keen eye on the weather and the river waiting for suitable conditions when the sooties start to roe up. When this


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happens, brood stock will be caught and transferred into the hatchery to kick off this season’s breeding program. Summer is not all about dam fishing though – plenty of saltwater action is still on the agenda. Down in the creeks and estuaries, jacks and golden snapper are on the chew, along with the ever-present estuary cod. These three species will be the bulk of lure captures over the next couple of months, along with the old reliable flathead.

along the beaches. Yabbies and worms are the best baits while strips of squid will also work. The old hands all suggest using red plastic tubing or red beads on top of the hook as an added attraction. For the tinnie anglers, the northerly winds have started. Bait schools and small macs are appearing around the harbour and Shoal Point areas. Small macs and northerlies go together well and they respond to trolling lures or pilchards, cast and

trout have been filtering in from even the close inshore islands with big reds coming from the shipping channel. While some of the close in islands are in tinnie range, reef fishing proper needs a substantial boat with reliable motor and good fuel range as a reef trip can involve a round trip of 150km or more. Mackay as usual offers plenty of options for anglers from the rainforest to the reef so why not take a trip to paradise and join us. See you at the ramp.


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Essential summer guide to polarized sunglasses NSWFM

David Glennie

Every fisher knows that polarized sunglasses are the best choice to protect your eyes, eliminate glare, sight fish and help you pick out reefs and weed

the vast price range that confronts you in front of a sunglasses display. Let’s start with a quick lesson on light and glare. Imagine you’re in an outdoor car park on a sunny day. As you look into an area of the car park with no vehicles, your eyes will

Whether for bait or the table, you’ll catch more squid by seeing the best ground courtesy of your polarizing sunglasses. beds in the water. To help you select the best polarized sunglasses, here’s an explanation of glare, polarized light, the components that go into sunglasses and the value for money across

feel mild discomfort from the bright sunlight. As you turn towards a section of the park with cars, you’ll see the annoying glare as the sunlight reflects from windscreens and polished surfaces of the parked

cars. This reflected glare is 6-8 times stronger and more uncomfortable than the surrounding ambient light and is described as polarized glare. Now put yourself on the water. The water surface is like being surrounded by hundreds of windscreens, attacked by glare – your eyes will be screaming for help. The perfect solution is a lens tinted to reduce the surrounding light coupled with a polarized filter to remove the glare. With the sunlight reduced and glare removed, your eyes will be more comfortable. With the glare-free water surface, you’ll be able to see through the surface and pick out fish and bottom structure. A non-polarized lens will only have the dark colour to reduce the light levels reaching your eye. They lack the ability to cut the stronger glare. CHOOSING A PAIR Now that you’ve decided to purchase polarized sunnies, which is the best pair? Many brands, varied prices, different lens colours and materials and frame design can make your choice bewildering, so here are some tools to make a great sunglass selection. The most important component of your sunglasses is the lenses, as the main reason of wearing sunglasses is to protect your eyes, remove glare and have you seeing comfortably. As mentioned earlier, the colour of the lens reduces the surrounding light. Therefore the darker the lens colour the greater the light reduction. As you

Top: This is a glare-filled environment without polarized lens protection. Above: Polarized lenses reduce the glare. look over a sunglasses display, you’ll see that the majority of models will have a grey or brown lens colour that will reduce

the light levels by around 80%, which will perform an excellent job in full sun conditions. The internal polarizing filter will not

Wearing your polarized sunglasses will allow you to pick out the hotspots between weed beds and other structure to increase your catch rates. 56


be visible on the display, but its benefits will be obvious once you look through the lens. When choosing your sunnies, try on a grey lens and then a brown lens, preferably in sunlight, to experience the difference in tint colour. The brown lens has a higher amount of yellow in the tint colour, which will provide an element of lift in your vision and you might feel that colours appear brighter. This increase in contrast can help in picking out a trout in a stream or such details, but this visual sensation is not comfortable for everyone. By contrast, the grey lens will cool and soothe the light and is generally the lens choice of the harsher on-water environment, where the glare surrounds us. By trying on both the grey and brown lens in quick succession, you’ll be able to get a reaction on what you feel most comfortable looking through and choose what suits best. Some companies will brand their brown lens copper or rose or similar. If it looks brown to you,

then it’s brown for the purpose of this discussion regardless of the marketing spin from the manufacturer. There may be some mid range tints on display with light reduction of around 50%, while a traditional lens has a reduction around 80%. In these models, the polarized filter will still remove the glare, but the lighter lens will allow more light to reach the eye than the full tint lenses. These sunglasses are ideal in cloudy conditions or early and late in the day where the glare still exists on the water but the surrounding light levels are relatively low. Sight fishing in these lighting environments is ideally suited to these lenses, but you might not find them dark enough in full sun. If you can stretch the budget, purchase a mid

TO CHOOSE THE BEST POLARIZED SUNGLASSES • Check that the lenses are polarized; don’t assume they are. • Ask yourself, do I prefer the scratch resistant glass lens or a lighter acrylic type? • Brown tint and grey tint offer different visual properties. Choose what works for you. • Pick a frame with a comfortable fit and think, do I look hot? • Ask about the speed of repairs and warranty claims. • Stretch your budget as far as you can. Better quality sunglasses fit better for longer, and the more scratch resistant lenses will be more durable. ONCE YOU ARE THE PROUD OWNER OF YOUR WELL CHOSEN SUNNIES • Always keep them in a protective hard case – those cloth bags give minimal protection! • Before you wipe the lenses, a rinse under cool fresh water will remove abrasive sand, salt dust and grit. This will extend the life of your lenses enormously. • After rinsing, use a lens cleaning spray and dry with a soft cloth or clean tissue.

The author with a cracker snapper catch. He’s got his polarized sunnies on. tint model and a second pair fitted with a full sun tint to have you covered for all situations. Another way to cover multiple sunlight conditions is a polarized photochromatic lens. A photochromatic lens is lighter in colour, around 40-60% light reduction when not exposed to bright sunlight, and then darkens automatically in proportion to the amount of sunlight in the environment. Theses lenses are certainly flexible to the wearer, however the Achilles heel of the photochromatic lens is their ability to fully darken if your boat cabin or car roof and windscreen filter the sunlight that activates the lens. This causes the lens to not darken to its full potential when behind glass, and so its performance in bright sun will be compromised. If one product could do everything, then we would only have one rod and reel

combination, one lure and one bait variety. While this is a noble aim, there’ll be some compromise. As well as looking at lens tints, lens materials are also an important consideration when choosing your new sunwear. There are three main materials in the quality sunglass ranges, with the choice of crown glass, acrylic and polycarbonate lenses. Lower priced sunglasses will generally use a triacetate cellulose lens. Most sunglass manufacturers will claim a glass lens to be superior in clarity to its acrylic and polycarbonate cousins. While this is technically correct, any difference is almost impossible to detect with the naked eye. More important in your purchasing decision is the significantly higher scratch resistancy of the glass when compared to other choices. If you’re a bit careless, not so good at using a case or getting abrasive sand or salt on the lens then the

scratch resistant glass is a great choice for you. Glass lenses are about twice the weight of acrylic or polycarbonate, so consider the comfort factor as you try different pairs in store. Glass lenses are a more brittle material and somewhat unforgiving if dropped on a hard surface where chipping or breaking can result. Never wear your glass lens sunglasses, or any other sunglass for that matter, unless they’re safety rated when working with power tools or machinery. A piece of broken glass embedded in your eye will spoil your day in a big way! A sunglass fitted with acrylic resin lenses, usually a material called CR-39, will result in a lighter and more comfortable wearing experience. CR-39 has excellent optical properties. Most prescription lenses are made from CR-39, and I am sure that the sunglass industry

The SLICELENS from TONIC EYEWEAR is the most technically advance polarised lens in the world. Featuring the latest Japanese glass technology the SLICELENS provides totally distortion free vision with precise depth and distance as well as unparalleled clarity. Try them on at your local retailer and discover the TONIC EYEWEAR difference for your self

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borrows technology on manufacturing techniques and scratch resistant coatings from the larger and better-resourced prescription industry. You’ll find acrylic lenses are half the weight of their glass counterparts and near impossible to break in normal recreational wear. They will however require more care as they don’t have the same resistance to scratching as a glass lens. Take care of the way that you put them down, use a good case and rinse abrasive materials from the lens surface with cool water before wiping or rubbing and you’ll get long life from a pair of CR-39 lenses. Polycarbonate lenses also offer a lighter weight option than the glass models and a good level of impact resistance. If you choose a polycarbonate lens you’ll need to pay stricter attention to the scratch avoidance. Polycarbonate is the softest surface of the three main materials. Most polarized sunglasses with a regular price of $100 or less will be fitted with a triacetate cellulose lens. The construction of these lenses

Polarizing sunglasses will cut the glare from the water surface and allow you to pick out sand banks, weed beds and reefs. Look out King George whiting! works with the lens tint to reduce the amount of light reaching your eye. Premium polarized lenses will have a reflection-free coating on the rear surface of the lens to reduce bounce-back glare from any ambient light that reaches the back lens surface. The reduced reflection makes you visually less aware of the lens in front of your eye and you just feel the glare

surface and frame. Normal usage should give you several years of great wear. For a glass lens, you’ll be spending around $270$300. The frames will be similar to the grylamid, but the grinding and polishing of the glass lens pushes the price to a higher point. Several suppliers will make the same model frame and fit some with glass lenses and others with an acrylic material in a variety of lens and coating colours so that you can make your perfect choice of frame, lens material and tint. Once the price rises over $300, you’ll get similar lenses with above average frames – perhaps a metal frame with titanium components for light weight and strength, or a beautiful European made

your prescription can be produced in polarizing materials. Whether you need correction for distance only, or wear a bifocal or multifocal lens, clear vision combined with glare reduction is available and can be fitted to most frames. Spectacle lens design for wrap sunnies is more complicated than conventional spectacles, so for the best result please seek the advice of an expert. Ask to see a qualified optical dispenser before you start looking at the various styles on display, so that you get the right advice on lens thickness, prescription suitability to each frame’s shape and size, and the relationship between the prescription and curvature of the lens. Avoid knock-off

down your nose. You’ll still enjoy the benefits of polarizing lenses, at a lower price, but will need a more regular replacement purchase than higher priced sunglasses with higher construction integrity. Priced from $180-$220, we’re moving into stronger frames, usually made of grylamid with better quality hinges and fitted with lenses made from

With long days on the water trolling for tuna, your eyes will be protected and relaxed behind polarized sunnies.

Polarizing sunglasses are not just great on the water but the best driving sunglasses. Can you see the cyclist past the glare? is more like a foil and frequently less than 1mm thick, where traditional lenses are around 2mm in thickness. Being so thin, they’ll flex easily and spring out of the frame with light to moderate pressure. Thicker lenses are much more stable under pressure and a more secure fit in the sunglass frame. Triacetate cellulose lenses have the lowest resistance to scratching of the materials, and are a consumable that will be replaced more frequently. There are some models with a variety of coloured mirror coatings. These coatings reflect light away from the front surface of the lens rather than allow it to pass through. This 58


reducing benefits of the tint and polarizing filter. PRICE There’s a huge range of prices for polarizing sunglasses. Let’s look at why the prices vary and what you get for your dollar. Sunglasses priced under $100 will consist of an injection molded plastic or low-grade metal frame fitted with a triacetate cellulose lens and its assosiated shortcomings. Frames at this price point cannot be altered in shape for a personalized comfort fit, and the hinges tend to throw screws at the most inconvenient time. The frames will be prone to stretching out of shape, which will make them fit loosely and slip

CR-39 or polycarbonate. The grylamid frames will fit more comfortably for an extended period of time, rarely working loose. The only maintenance required is a trip back to your point of purchase to have the screws tightened occasionally. The lifespan of these will be determined by your care of the lens

acetate plastic frame from a fashion icon. Only a small percentage of sunglasses from European fashion designers use polarized lenses, so check to ensure that your stunning fashion sunglasses have polarized lenses fitted. For those who wear spectacles to assist their vision, don’t despair –

Choose a sunglass retailer who stocks a range of brands and models so that you can select the perfect frame and lens combination for your needs.

sunglasses that are cheap copies of quality sunglasses. As well as super low quality, I have great concerns of the protection levels of the lenses fitted to them. If the people that make them don’t care about ripping off Gucci, Ray-Ban or Oakley, then they don’t give a stuff about protecting your precious eyes. Every sunglasses model sold in Australia has been tested by Australian Standards to ensure it’s protecting your eyes correctly. Never buy or wear sunglasses that weren’t purchased with a swing tag stating that it exceeds Australian Standard AS/NZS 1067 2003. Enjoy wearing your new sunglasses. For any queries, call David Glennie at Karingal Optical on 03 9789 4811. David Glennie has a Diploma of Optical Dispensing and has managed optometry practices for over 30 years. Fishing and diving in his spare time, he combines his technical lens knowledge with the requirements of long hours on the water.


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Costa’s 580 lens has some of the best light transmission technology in the world. The main blue spectrum is enhanced, the green is enhanced at its peak sensitivity, and the red is also enhanced. Working together, this allows anglers to see more and ultimately catch more. One of the most versatile lenses is the standard grey 580 lens, which maintains natural contrast and saturation through most everyday conditions. It’s great for a mix of fishing and everyday life. The copper lens enhances contrast while cutting glare from the water – perfect for the variable light conditions often encountered in estuary and freshwater fishing. It enhances colours and delivers high contrast, making it easier to pick out fishy targets. You can also get a Blue Mirror lens (built on a grey base lens) and Green and Silver (both built on a copper base). In low light conditions, there’s the Sunrise Lens. It transmits 27% of available light and provides excellent contrast at times where you wouldn’t normally wear sunnies. There are more than 60 frames in the Costa range, and you can find them at any store that stocks Rapala gear.

Designed for top end work, the new Apex sunglasses from Mako are really something new. What separates these sunnies from the pack is their innovative new gradient colour lenses. They provide darker shading on top where you need it most, and the lighter shades below give clarity for close-up work. Available in light polycarbonate or tough, crown glass distortion-free lenses in grey or rose tint, Apex shows Mako’s top-notch technology at its best. Made from tough warpresistant nylon composite, the Mako’s sleek, matte black frames are fashionable and are designed for all outdoor situations. It features less of a wrap than Mako’s new Ronin model, but will still sit close to your face, reducing side light. It also has rubber on the nose pads and arm inserts to keep them from slipping off. Mako has the largest array of polarised lens choices in Australia. Lightweight TR-90 construction make Makos some of the most comfortable sunglasses you will wear. Price: RRP $299 (glass lenses)

Designed for comfort and fit, the Ronin from MakoMY provides extensive coverage on bright, glary days on the water. The eight-base frame curves around your eyes forCY full sun protection, preventing glare from entering aroundCMY the sides of the frame. These sunglasses deliver superior clarity with their decentred, K distortion-free crown glass lens in copper, brown or rose. They are matched to either a silver, blue or flash mirror coating lens with excellent scratch resistance. Combined with the classically stylish matte black frame, with an ultra-tough pin hinge, the Ronin is everything you’d expect from Mako sunglasses. The Ronin will be available in a choice of High Definition glass lenses suitable for a wide range of fishing and outdoor pursuits. Mako’s High Definition filter removes some yellow and orange wavelengths of light that cause blurring, especially at distance. This results in a clearer view at a greater distance than what is possible with the naked eye. Price: RRP $299 (glass lenses)







Do you find it hard to find sunnies that fit you? When you head into a store to try on eyewear, do you find the lenses feel too small to give you the protection you need, or the frames are so tight they cause you headaches? Spotters have crafted a solution for you – eyewear that delivers a generous fit with a classic style. The Grit from Spotters boasts classic styling with slim temples that slide on under your headwear, and big lenses for ultimate protection. These sunglasses have been sculpted with innovative design features to deliver the perfect life-size fit. The geometrical lens shape fuses sophistication with aerodynamic lines, giving incredible lens depth and protection. The temple width has been whittled away to slide on under your headwear and stay balanced. The subtle curve of the temples provides the perfect amount of grip, while state-of-the-art frame materials give you unmatched flexibility and comfort. 60





The award-winning Spotters Rebel take you seamlessly from penetrating the glare off huge swells offshore, to a BBQ with your mates. These sunglasses combine ultimate visual clarity with comfort and classic style. The design for Rebel took its inspiration from the iconic movie star styling of the 50s. Beautiful retro styling incorporates an embracing lens curve to gently wrap your face and deliver ultimate glare protection. The lines of the frame have been selectively moulded to incorporate classic fluid elements – eliminating flat and boring. Spotters has developed a slim temple design with a sweeping curve to keep your eyewear secure, and removed any barrier to sliding these sunglasses on quickly and effortlessly. Rebel’s finishing touch is the bold temple branding. Frame finishes are available in gloss black, matt black or crystal brown. As seen here in the ice blue mirror lens, Rebel will deliver high performance polarised vision all day, every day.









Tonic Eyewear, the brainchild of eyewear expert Doug Phillips, is going from strength to strength. “You really have to try on a pair of Tonics to see what you’re missing,” Doug explained. “When looking through them you’ll see the colour saturation, reds, blues and greens more vibrantly due to our four and three colour polarising filter systems.” Another key feature is the applied anti-reflective back surface coating that absorbs reflective glare, stopping it entering the eye. There’s also a decentred lens, giving you incredibly accurate depth and distance perception, which is essential while casting. “The clarity alone is overwhelming,” Doug said. “Then you have some of our specialised lenses like Neon which is incredibly sharp visually, and our photochromic copper, photochromic grey and our mirrored lenses. Anyone can do a mirror, but it’s what’s behind the mirror that counts!” Doug Phillips, who used to design Spotters sunglasses, has launched several new models in the past 12 months, including the Mo, Jo and Rise. Check out the Tonic website for more info. Price: SRP $279

Seeing red before Christmas WHITSUNDAYS

Luke Griffiths

We are quickly approaching the final stages of another year once again, and some diehards are already setting up their Christmas decorations. With spring in

numbers of these critters have been caught over the past month and should continue. As mentioned in my previous articles, they are arguably one the tastiest fish in our region and you can find sweetie throughout the Whitsunday Islands with a running ball sinker rig. Most

Multiple techniques are delivering the goods when targeting these stubborn fighters. Trolling hardbodies, skirts, baits and casting small artificials (including flies for all the fly fishos) into the feeding frenzies have all accounted for their fair share. They are a fantastic fun and fight to the bitter end. They won’t leave a bitter taste in your

should increase as we go on. Live baits, jigs and dead baits have been doing the damage. Once you have managed to fight the beasts to the top, scan the water around the hooked fish as they usually have one or two companions joining them for the ride, and a well-prepared rod and bait could see you with two cobia on! Be careful once

Katie Brechin was very happy with her red emperor caught with Renegade Charters. Craig with a nice red emperor that managed to avoid the sharks! full swing, we wind down the previous month with some great catches and look forward to the final month of spring as things look to heat up. The persistence of the large gold-spot cod has been surging on through the last month around the islands, which is great to see, as these

rigs work on them, including micro-jigs! Micro-jigs have accounted for some thumper sweetlip to 60cm and seem to be the go-to lately, with many other species loving the look of them. Another species that you should give a go this month is the longtail tuna. We have seen them on the

Goldband snapper like this will also be on offer this month. Look amongst the redfish in deeper water to find these tasty fish. guys put up a great fight and fare well on the table. For those who took my advice… told you so! They taste great. Another fish that we have been seeing plenty of is the grassy sweetlip. Fantastic

increase and they should be quite thick this month. The Whitsunday Passage has been loaded with bait and tuna, so finding a school or two closer in shouldn’t be an issue.

Solid Spanish mackerel are still on offer this month – always be ready for a Spanish attack. mouth either, as the longtail make for great eating. The sashimi lovers out there will be drooling, as they make delicious sashimi. As always though, you have to look after this fish as soon as it hits the deck. Bleeding, then removing the gills and insides, and placing into a very cold saltwater ice slurry will see you getting the most out of your catch. Do keep an eye out around these schools of tuna for there should be some sneaky billfish hanging around as well. It is the peak of the season for billfish, so targeting these impressive fish will be an option, especially with the cleaner water that has been hanging around with the smaller tides. Along with the run of the aforementioned species, we should be starting to see our run of cobia. We have seen a fair few coming over the side and numbers

they’re on board though, as they tend to go nuts. A hook in your skin is bad enough, let alone a hook in your skin with a frantic cobia hanging off the end of it! You can find these cobia

pretty much everywhere you find your nannygai and reds or large bait balls you see in your travels. Nannygai and red emperor have also been out in force and should continue through this month as the weather heats up. Large numbers have been around and finding yourself a few shouldn’t be too hard. As we all know, they are great fun to catch and great to eat an the usual techniques of dead baits

It was a father and daughter team effort to get this nice red emperor to the boat.

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and live baits will bring them aboard. A trip to the reef this month should also see you rewarded, as the good catches just keep coming. Most reefs are producing great numbers of coral trout, red-throat emperor, spangled emperor and red emperor. Remember though, if you intend on travelling that far, be prepared, as it is easy to get into trouble out there and you are a long way from home. Being out pretty much every day, and listening to our VHF all day, we are constantly hearing of boats that are in trouble out on the water. Although some can’t be avoided, a lot of issues can be if the skippers are prepared properly and leave nothing to chance. Not only is it yourself you have to think about out on the water, but also the safety of your passengers, and the safety of the volunteers who man the rescue teams. Have a good one this month and stay safe. • If you’re interested in a game, sport or reef fishing charters around the Whitsundays, give Luke a call on 0429 724 822 or email info@




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Grunter are Burdekin’s number one species AYR

Steve Farmer

Burdekin fishing has been steadily changing from winter to spring species over the past four or five weeks. Anglers are making the most of the subtle changes. Grunter are probably the number one estuary species at the moment. While bigger fish to 70cm+ are yet to arrive in their favourite hotspots of Upstart and Bowling Green bays, creeks and beaches across the district are producing grunter to 60cm, which are nice fish all the same. Simone, Russell and little Ellie Sutcliffe fished the Burdekin River recently and came home with three grunter to 60cm, a cod and a blue salmon. All fish were taken on squid bait. Salmon are another species that turns up in late spring and early summer, sometimes feeding on the surface in large schools. It’s the closest thing you can get to pelagic fishing in the creeks. The action can be hectic if you’ve got a lure to match the size of the baitfish the salmon are

feeding on. Metal slugs are a good start. Wire or heavy monofilament traces are recommended as salmon have sandpaperlike jaws, which will make short work of light braid or mono. Cast your lure to the edges of the feeding school and try to steer any hooked fish into clear water, away from their mates. Hooking a fish in the middle of the school could result in you being bitten off by other feeding fish. Blue salmon aren’t great table fish, but the quality of the fillets can be maximised by immediately bleeding, cleaning and icing down captured fish. Place them in a slurry of saltwater and ice. When filleting salmon, trim out any worms that may be found in this species. As usual, there’s been a flurry of anglers gunning for barra over the past month. Most estuaries produce fish, but not a lot of quality specimens. The saltwater reaches of the Burdekin River have been the exception with reasonable numbers of barra to 90cm snapping up live baits. The closed

season will be in place from 1 November and you’ll have to wait until February next year to scratch your barra itch. A tasty alternative to a feed of fresh fish is a feed of fresh prawns. Most Burdekin estuaries are rewarding hardworking cast-netters with reasonable catches. Phillips Camp is one of the popular prawning spots, because it’s one of the few Burdekin estuaries where you can fish or prawn from the bank without a boat. One cast-netter scored a feed of tasty whiting rather than the expected mullet recently at Alva Beach. Hoping for a bit of fresh bait to fish the incoming tide, he dropped his net over a school of monster whiting – real elbow slappers way too fat for him to get his hand around. He wasn’t complaining! THE MONTH AHEAD With the year nearly gone and summer just around the corner, clued up estuary anglers will be targeting summer species such as mangrove jack, golden snapper, grunter and salmon. That

should be your plan for the month ahead. Jacks and golden snapper are two species with many similar characteristics and habits. Actually finding them in our estuaries can require a slightly different approach. Jacks usually inhabit mangrove roots and snags that line the estuaries or standalone snags in midstream. They love the junctions of gutters and side creeks and are happy to wait in ambush in less than a metre of water. Jacks respond well to small, up to 100mm cast lures fired in as close as possible to their tangled haunts. Similarly, lobbing slabbed or small live baits into their tight strike zone will also pay dividends. Golden snapper favour submerged structure, especially snags lying in deep holes. It’s more important to know what lies below the surface when hunting golden snapper, so you’ll need a sounder and have to do some homework. Once you’ve located deeper, snagstudded sections of creek, target golden snapper with trolled deep divers, slabbed or live baits.

Simone Sutcliffe with a couple of 60cm grunter taken on squid bait.

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Beaut new lures and locations TOWNSVILLE

Dave Hodge

The ceiling fans are spinning faster than last time and fish are playing the game much better. From all reports mackerel have been around in numbers, but there are

by cobia in decent numbers. For big fish chasers there are still plenty of options. Live baits are the best tactical approach to catching cobes, but there have been developments in the lure side of things for those with big fish on their mind. Halco recently released their new 7” version of

heavier heads required to combat the current makes the paddle-tail work quickly on the drop. This is why you need to be ready to strike and wind at any stage after they hit the water. A procession of big golden snapper and golden trevally graced the camera lens as boats around us watched on with straight rods. These lures made us look good and are one of the easiest lures to use – perfect for a novice just getting into the plastics scene. Actually, the camp grounds at Lucinda next to the water area are a perfect spot to base yourself. Small boats have access to the creeks close by and the jetty is only a very short run from the ramp. Creeks have good populations of jacks and barra and there are awesome grunter grounds a stone’s throw from the ramp. The offshore reef fishing is exceptional and only a short drive from Townsville. In the surrounding area, fish the Hinchinbrook Channel, affectionately referred to as the ‘Hinch’.

creeks, as putting them in a bin isn’t an option unless you’re a big fan of glow flies and bad odour. We generally get an unpowered sight, set up a tarp and table, get the Engel out and set it up with the solar power and battery pack, roll out the trusty old swag and hit the water. It’s quick, easy and the atmosphere is very relaxing for a large campground. I can thoroughly recommend a weekend away at Lucinda, but be careful, because many have come for a weekend years ago, fell in love with the place and now live there. Locally, golden snapper are busting up plenty of anglers on lures. The most productive depths have been in 10-15m of water. Being on the water as the sun rises is a big part of a successful tactical approach. Often, the bite window is only an hour or so, and you obviously need to be there as it all happens. There are plenty of fish over the 80cm mark and I’ve seen pictures of metre-plus models already.

At this size, golden snapper take a bit of stopping. The 50 had to be dragged out to stop some of these brutes, but some were still uncontrollable on the ‘come ‘ere gear’. plenty of missed strikes but lots are being landed. No one can really explain the reason for winding back half wolfies and gar, but there are plenty of people having troubles out wide. Hardbody lures on the other hand have been staying connected much better, and are probably the best option. The 190mm Halco Laser Pro is again a gun lure for these speedy attackers, and the shallower model 2m diver can be trolled at a higher speed that its deep diving brother, and this seems to be the key to making that hook stick. There are still some long tails getting around, but they’re thinning out considerably. Don’t stress, as these have been replaced

the Paddle Prawn, and for anyone focussed on big fish, these things are a winner. I’ve only had one chance to give them a work out, but they work. Good mate Ryan Tully and myself went up to Lucinda for a quick fish before doing demos for the Lions Club Family Fishing Competition. We had no sounder or electric motor and still managed to tag nice fish amongst the pylons of the loading jetty. As one of us would cast into the danger zone, the other would control and manoeuvre the boat into an appropriate angle to tackle a hooked-up fish. As is often the case with this spot, we lost plenty of lures to big fish – great fun. We tried to stop fish on 50 and 30lb gear. Using the

Big goldens like this 89cm model are around and really test tackle to the limit. The author’s favourite whopper stopper outfit is the Samurai Elevate 20-30lb – it can be used for hours on end without buggering your wrist.

Low light times called for a lure that stood out pretty well. Chartreuse and white are great, judging by the way this fish took to it. I’m impressed to hear the powers that be understand what this structure means to the Lucinda economy. I appreciate how many fishers travel to the area just for that option alone. So many artificial structures have been deemed out of bounds to fishers and it’s made a massive impact on who fishes an area and why, but the revenue raised locally from being able to access the jetty by boat has major benefits for the town. The campground is well maintained and the management is customer orientated. They’ve even built a shed with sinks, taps and a freezer for fish frames to be disposed of. This eliminates the potential for anglers to dump frames at sea or in the

These are exceptional fish – every year you see a couple verified pictures of these brutes. Mackerel have been thick on some of the shallower grounds as well. I understand the following that macs have, but they’re just plain frustrating when they snip off your plastics meant for bottom species. Wire helps to beat the teeth, but your lures are often ignored with the addition of wire, so it’s a catch-22 situation. Trout have most people talking at the moment – you’ll often hear of people bagging out in quick time. Ross from Ultimate Sport Fishing Charters has found some amazing new grounds. This very successful charter

This young fella has developed into a competent fisher over the last couple years. If he wants to try something he does, and he’s quickly getting the runs on the board. One of his favourite test lures is the 3 1/4” Plazo paddle-tail. operation has consistent runs on the board. It’s nice to see the ethical approach that he takes towards the operation, as he limits the number he takes on charter to make sure his customers aren’t bumping shoulders as they fight fish. This eliminates many of the tangles and crossed lines that are part and parcel of having too many people on board. At 65ft long, his vessel would no doubt hold plenty more people than it does, but the frustrations and lost fish associated with an overcrowded deck are no issue with plenty of room. Ross has just found some exciting new grounds and species that are sure to get the fanatical lure fisher frothing at the mouth. I’m going on an exploratory trip soon to see just what’s going on with some of these monster fish that have been smoking them. More on this later, but this could be an exciting new fishery made available to anglers very soon. Mum’s the word at the moment. Ultimate has also been cleaning up trout,

reds, long-nosed emperor, red throat and so on, so any time is a good time to go out wide with them. CREEKS As mentioned, things are warming up now. Barra are doing what barra do, preparing for what is shaping up to be a decent wet season. Water temperatures are way up on last month’s, and at least 3°C warmer than the same time last year. Reports on barra are promising for the lead up to season’s end, so button up for the last month of barra season. There should be some stonkers getting around the mangroves on the bigger tides now, and metre models can often be seen cruising the flooded forests of mangroves on the top of the tide. This is hardbody territory. The 105 Halco Hamma in liquid lime or gravy train colours are the go for me, and their strong action at slow speeds does the trick nicely. All in all, the next month will be a cracker. Whack on some new braid and sharpen them hooks ‘cause this’ll be fun.

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Looking forward to a warmer, wetter season HINCHINBROOK

Ryan Moody

During the last month, we’ve caught spectacular fish inside the northern end of the channel, including a 30lb GT while casting for barra, 110cm black jewfish, 90cm golden snapper and quite a few big barra including our milestone 2000th metre plus fish. It’s definitely warmed up early this year and that would explain better than average fishing for September. Early northwesterlies slowed things a little at times, which is a pain but overall we can’t complain. It’s been pretty good. September has brought an early run of greenback herring and they’re everywhere. Some schools just seem endless and are a welcome meal to many critters. Northern bluefin, Spaniards, queenies and more have been making the most of it. They’re easy to find – all you have to do

is look for the small white terns diving into the schools. Although Hinchinbrook Channel is mostly mangrove waterways, it’s amazing the amount of different pelagics you’ll find.

fish are expecting something to happen. The numbers are up compared to last year. It would be great if we enter our wet cycle again as the barra numbers in Northern Australia are at

Phil Capes landed Ryan Moody Fishing’s 2000th metre long barra during September. Barra fishing has been awesome towards the end of season. The numbers of big fish that have arrived from the headlands is outstanding, considering we didn’t have a massive wet season early this year. Maybe all these

an all time low in many areas. With some big rains, we could kick start the recruitment cycle again. With a few wet years in a row, we’ll see another barra boom. The cycle comes and goes with our

wet and dry years and those that follow these cycles will know exactly what I’m talking about. The early warmth in the water has also bought good numbers of golden snapper into the channel. I’d expect threadfin to arrive early for their spawning aggregations. I don’t mind the barra closed seasons, as targeting threadies is a whole bunch of fun. They’ll pull a barra around backwards and really are a stunning fish to look at. Once they arrive, they’re easy targets with many soft vibes and plastics accounting for them. They’ll take a big variety of lures and aren’t too fussy. During November, it’s golden snapper and salmon time, but it can get pretty oppressive out there in the day. Many fishers try their luck at night and this is when many species forage more. They become very active and use the night hours to their advantage. Golden snapper have always been a popular target around inshore islands and headlands at night.

Many anglers swear by using a squid light to land squid, as it’s a very good live bait. I’ve found the larger oceanic herrings that come to the lights are just as good and cleaner to catch. If you use a smaller type of bait jig under the squid light, you can catch them easily or cast the net in the creeks before you head out. Mud herring will also make a great bait for those who want to get bait before heading out. The reef will also fish better at night during the warmer months, as is always the trend. Hot still days out

can see the fishing shut down completely, which is no fun. We hope to have a reef course coming out later next year, but if you’d like to check out some of our other premium courses and plenty of free content, check out our new site at www. • If you would like to book a charter or join our fishing community for some great fishing competitions etc, head on over to www. And you could also win a free charter drawn twice a year.

Phil with one of the biggest golden snapper the author’s seen inside the channel.

Hinchinbrook in the heat LUCINDA

Jeff Wilton

When I sit down to type the November article for this magazine I always wonder, where the heck did the year go? With the day-to-day routines revolving around work, family and home duties, it’s increasingly harder to get a rod in your hand. For those lucky enough to be hitting the water, Lucinda has great things on offer. The water is hot, the weather is hot and best of all the fishing should be hot. HINCHINBROOK CHANNEL I’m going to put it out there – if you’re not fishing periods of low light, you’re missing out. These periods are peak bite times and any tide change around sunrise or sunset should be planned first. It’s the start of the barra closed season so care must be taken. Don’t

target these fish – you may accidently hook and catch them, but take lots of care and get them swimming away as quick as possible. Don’t lay them on the boat floor or seat as it may be very hot, always support their weight and get them back in the water. Mangrove jack in the snags on small plastics are top of my list during November. Silently drifting along the bank in the first hour of light in the morning can be just magic. Often you’ll hear the jacks snapping at their prey and witness them getting airborne in pursuit. The adrenalin rush when you sight cast to an angry fired up jack is awesome. The hit is immediate – that lure touches the water and bang. Try a snag-proof rig you can skip under trees, swim through snags and just twitch slowly on the surface. This allows you to overshoot your casts to get in the back of the strike zone – hold on!

Grunter, silver javelin, have shown up in good numbers in the creeks and the deeper rubble in the main channel. A good tip for chasing grunter in the creeks is to choose areas with clearer water. My best results have come from creeks that don’t dirty up as much as others. You can anchor up and fish lightly weighted baits. Allow them to slowly move with the tide for great results. Fresh prawns or sliced sardines are perfect baits, but a small live bait will also score trophy fish. Grunter can be targeted with lures. I love fishing with plastics and am becoming a big fan of the ZMan Trick SwimZ. These plastics have a tail that paddles on the slowest retrieval making them perfect to slow roll across the bottom. I met some gun bream fishers from down south at the ramp

It’s all about the jacks this time of year. and they were absolutely smashing grunter using the same techniques they would for bream. Finesse fishing with light braid and light fluorocarbon leader allows you to make long casts and work lightly weighted plastics and small hardbodies perfectly.


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Grunter are great sportfish and amazing on the table with pearly white fillets. JETTY, ISLANDS AND REEF Solid golden snapper have been caught along the sugar loader jetty. Most of these fish have come at night caught on live squid or sardines. The odd fish can be caught on dead baits, but fishing the optimal baits will get more interest. Drift around and work plastics and metals in the afternoon for a great way to spend some hours – it should see you hooked-up. A good sounder to show you the bait schools or bottom structure is essential, and saves you drifting around in barren lifeless areas. There are plenty of fish out at the reefs and most boats have been bagging out on fish like coral trout and nannygai. It’s been a bad

year for wind in NQ and limited opportunities to hit the blue water mean on any possible day it was standing room only in the car park. The odd Spanish mackerel is hanging about and those reef points that get lots of current are the places to look. Trolling a big gar or deep diving hardbody should get some attention. Find the bait schools, find the mackerel. For those wanting to relax and soak up the views of the magnificent Palm Islands, motoring around chasing schools of longtail tuna is perfect. Casting slugs at big tuna busting up on the surface is so much fun. Longtail tuna can also be the most annoying fish to get a cast at when they’re flighty. We’ve spent hours following them around the ocean and it gets frustrating.

Red and golden colour catches CAIRNS

Garry Smith

Fishing has been patchy of late, with some awesome catches and other trips coming up short. The calm seas have been heavily used by those wanting to head east and this month should see a continuation of significant periods of flat water. Boating conditions and fishing will hopefully be ideal, though a tad on the warm side. Working your fishing excursions around dawn and dusk and avoiding the heat of day will both improve your catch rate and comfort level. The reef has been sporadic to say the least. Many boats come home light on for action, while others have found action aplenty. Overnighting has been popular and reasonably productive, though the sharks have wreaked havoc on way too many occasions. The coral trout have turned it on in patches, with some great hauls of quality trout in the mix. While overnighting certainly improves the comfort level, storms can be a bit of a hazard this month. Make sure you

are closely monitoring the horizon and the BOM radar, to avoid getting caught out. Discretion is the better part of valour with these storms, as they can really pack a punch, no matter how small they may appear on the radar. The two coral reef finfish closures this year are at the start and end of this month. The first is from October 28 to November 1, and will be over already. Keep in mind

around and often ‘homer Spaniards’ are hanging around deep water pinnacles. These particularly large specimens don’t migrate, preferring to stay in the same area year round. One ‘homer’ can more than make up for a brace of rat Spaniards, especially in the fight department. The fishing usually gets patchier as the water temperature rises, but there

Golden snapper, like this beauty caught by Craig Dayes from Mareeba, will be well worth targeting this month. there is a second closure from November 26-30. The trout often turn it on either side of spawning, so make them a target species if you get out there either side of the new moon. If the weather comes picture perfect right in the middle of the closure, don’t discount a trip chasing mackerel and trevally. While the Spaniards aren’t usually thick in November, they’re still

can be quality large-mouth nannygai around in the deep water, as well as big red emperor and the odd reef mangrove jack. They’re not usually in schooling numbers, but they can make up for a shortfall in numbers with size. Fish over 7kg are common and it only takes a couple of fish like that to put a smile on the dial of most reef anglers. The odd trip

in the past few years has hit the mother lode and come home with bag limits of monster large-mouth and red emperor. There can also be good numbers of smaller, less targeted species, like Moses perch and stripeys on the bite in large numbers and size. Pelagic enthusiasts will have plenty to hold their attention this month, with the well-healed right into the heavy tackle season, chasing that elusive grander black marlin. Big game anglers will be hoping for a repeat of the 2013 season, where there was a near record number of granders tagged, mostly around the Ribbon Reefs, Opal Ridge and Linden Bank. Those on a more modest budget will still find plenty of action, with mahimahi, wahoo, northern bluefin and yellowfin tuna all around in good numbers. Inshore waters will be worth a look, especially during the light wind periods. A light, cool, breeze is a little more comfortable than a dead-still, sand fly infested mangrove creek, as the temperatures rise. The inshore reefs, islands, wrecks and wonky holes will be worth a look for school and Spanish mackerel, golden snapper and largemouth nannygai. These

Quality red emperor and large-mouth nannygai, like these caught by Jordy Wedrat and Matt Coleing, will be on the bite in the deep water, especially at night. features can fish surprisingly well at this time of year, especially on dusk, early evening, pre-dawn and first light. An added bonus is the conditions on the water are so much more pleasant during these hours. With barra off the target list for the next three months, there is still plenty to keep estuary anglers interested, with mangrove jack, golden snapper and grunter around in good numbers. With a little planning there’s always a species to target – neap tides, around the 1/4 and 3/4 moon are a good time to focus on golden snapper and the bigger tides. Around the new and full moon is ideal for chasing grunter and mangrove jack. If there’s plenty of bait around, the small to medium sized giant trevally will be moving

around the systems causing mayhem. They’re great fighters and an underrated table fish, especially fresh. If there’s been a storm or early down pour, with enough rain to dirty the water, then it’s well worth putting in a crab pot or two. Without rain however, it can be thin pickings for this delicacy. Barra are still on the menu for those fishing Tinaroo Dam and around the full moon on the 14th is considered one of the best periods all year to chase these monsters. Don’t forget to obtain your Stocked Impoundment Permit before chasing barra in Tinaroo. The key to successful fishing this month is to make the most of the weather conditions and avoid the heat of the day for the sake of both enjoyment and productivity.

Go all in for the marlin season PORT DOUGLAS

Lynton Heffer

There’s a general feel around the traps that we might be in for a more traditional build up to the wet season this time around. Some indicators

are already in place. The days are definitely warm and muggy, we’ve already seen a bit of good rainfall around the place and water temperatures are high. This time of year, it’s all about marlin fishing. There is a strong contingency of boats from all over Australia

November is prime time for big black marlin in Far North QLD. Photo courtesy of Jake Wyatt from Reel Chase Charters.

working the waters from Cairns to Lizard Island. By the start of October, we started to see a shift in momentum with a few black marlin turning up, although there have been miles between fish. Many have been around the 100-200lb range with a few tags put into 500lb models. Some crews have resorted to fishing wider of the shelf and have managed some blue marlin as well. No doubt, catch rates will improve considerably. With the Lizard Island tournament just completed, there’s an indicator of how the season is fairing so far. We also have the Port Douglas Marlin Challenge running from 10-13 November with some good tides at hand. A lot of vessels will leave the top of the Ribbon Reefs and venture down to the Opal Ridge and Linden Bank grounds, which have a reputation for big bites in November. Being the 50th anniversary since the first 1000lb was caught off Cairns, it would be fitting to see a host of big girls tagged and released this season. There’s been great light tackle action also on the marlin grounds on the shelf with big wahoo and

Spanish mackerel cruising around. Yellowfin tuna are in too, which will help entice the marlin to stay in the vicinity. Inside the reef, reasonable numbers of Spanish mackerel, northern bluefin and mac tuna are about. Poppers and trolling techniques have been productive on the giant trevally on calm flat days. On the reef, numbers of fish have been ticking over nicely with some bumper days on the large-mouth nannygai. Other than this, it’s been an even spread of quality reef fish including coral trout, red emperor, small-mouth nannygai, gold spot and tea-leaf trevally, spangled and long-nosed emperor, Moses perch, cobia and sweetlip. There’s been a continuation of exotic fish turning up which have included barramundi cod (caught and released), baldy bream and footballer and passionfruit trout. Notably, they’ve been caught in and around the same terrain. With the first spawning just completed we should see a burst of action, especially for coral trout that went into lock jaw for a brief period prior to this. The next reef closure for spawning is later in the month.

The Port Douglas Marlin Challenge is running from 10-13 November. It’s been 50 years since the first 1000lb catch off Cairns, it’ll be fitting to see some big ones caught and released this month. Photo courtesy of Jake Wyatt. As time progresses, day time fishing will drop down half a gear. It’s a good time for a night fish, especially for the reds if you pick the right weather. Inshore, with nice clean water on offer, fantastic queenfish have been up and about at river mouths, beaches and headlands. School mackerel are in tow taking advantage of the healthy bait supply on offer. In the rivers and estuaries, barra picked up during October. Now with the closure in effect for three months, they must be released. Mangrove jack and golden snapper have remained steady and are definitely next in line

to target. The deeper holes are also providing good action with big schools of tarpon holding office. The movement of the tide has been accompanied by mid sized giant trevally at times too. With days expected to get warmer, low light periods and night fishing will produce the best results moving forward. November generally produces stunner weather, a tad warm, but there’s a plethora of fishing opportunities to be had up here in Far North QLD from the calm waters inshore right out to the blue highway out past the shelf, and everything in between. NOVEMBER 2016


River and reef species on for their spawning run COOKTOWN

Ben Stack

In November, barramundi get a rest from fishers right through until 1 February due to the closed season for this species. The barramundi will be spawning at river mouths and headlands as the weather builds up in the Cape. As the storm cells

brew and the weather becomes unbearably hot, a lot of other ocean and river species will be on their spawning run. This calendar month marks the official opening of cyclone season. You may be lucky to get a few more camping trips in at this time of year. Be prepared for some seriously hot days and nights, and also an odd storm that may drop a lot

of rain really fast, which can leave you stuck until it dries again. There were good opportunities to get out to the reefs over the last few weeks with the winds being only a slight breeze at worst. Reports of quality coral trout catches have been coming in thick by a large number of boats who went out at these times. Get out on the rubble to find the big

When you’re catching two barra on one lure, you know they’re hungry.

reds once you’ve got trout. Don’t forget our coral reef fish closures on 28 October to 1 November, and 26-30 November. When you’re out there, send out a floater for the Spaniards while bottom fishing. This method for catching Spanish mackerel still seems to be the most effective at the moment. This time last year, we had hundreds of juvenile black marlin schooling up in our shipping channel straight out the front, so it’s definitely worth a try for billfish on light gear for some fun and great photos. Estuaries in the Cooktown region have been producing quality fish too. The Endeavour River has produced quality barramundi and mangrove jacks over the last month on a daily basis. Most catches have come from the Wharf, Marton Boat Ramp, the Stone Wall and up the north arm of the Endeavour. Forget the barra this month – mangrove jack and estuary cod are responding really well for those who like sight casting lures into snags or trolling. Live and

The author hooked up to a Spanish mackerel. dead baits sunk down into some snags are an effective way to catch these fish. If you head down near the mouth you can try for trevally, queenfish and mackerel while trolling metallic lures or floating a dead or live bait. The Bloomfield, Annan and McIvor rivers will also be effective with the same techniques.


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The travelling setup while exploring new fishing grounds.

Once again this year, Lakefield National Park fishing over October was a very hard bite to predict. On one day the barra were biting hard and the next day we couldn’t raise anything. We spent a few days up at Nifold Plains and fished the Annie, North Kennedy and Bizant rivers without any success despite trying a number of different techniques for barra. To be honest, I doubt barra fishing will improve much next year, until we get some good consecutive wet seasons. Good wet seasons will have the barra fill the rivers far up into the catchment areas and in return grow and come back down for the next breeding season, which will hopefully quadruple the current number of fish. • If you’d like any current information while you’re visiting Cooktown’s region or more information about a particular place in the neighbourhood to fish, then simply like my Facebook page, Stacky’s Fishing Adventures or send me a message.




Cape York in November is a hot proposition CAPE YORK

Tim O’Reilly

The weather is hot and the fishing even hotter. This is late spring and waterways, wetlands and coastal areas will all be alive with

afternoon onshore breezes will stir things up a little. I remember I missed Melbourne Cups, because I was up in the Cape fishing. Large fish, which usually sit outside the estuaries, start pushing up in with the tides. Big queenfish and GTs get around in some of the west

outfits with soft plastics. Look for highways or gutters where the fish can access the beach or flat from deeper water. Be patient and wait for roaming fish to swim past your station. The inside sand bar of most creek and river mouths will be a pleasant spot to fish in November. A breeze usually picks up in the afternoons to make conditions a more comfortable. Live bait, shallow divers, plastics and vibes are a great way

to explore these sandy conditions. Sometimes getting caught too far up a river system can get unbearably hot this time of year. Only stubborn fishers put up with it. Bite times will usually be shorter, but more intense and the middle of the day can often be wasted. Concentrate your efforts on the morning period and late-afternoon. Every year, November plays sponsor to many epic

Chester fly-casting on a remote Cape York creek mouth. activity. Birds, bait and blue current lines full of fish will be the norm. Small coastal estuaries will be firing and the shallow inshore areas on the west coast will have all manner of hungry critters tearing their way through baitfish. Mornings will see most of the action near shore as conditions are typically settled and a consistent pattern of

coast river mouths and are a possibility. Poppers, soft plastics and vibes fished on the second half of the run-in tide are an effective way to search. Golden trevally, giant herring, blue salmon, tarpon, barracouta and queenfish are other species will transition on and off the beaches right down the Cape’s west coast. All can be targeted on fly gear and with small spinning

Nice jack taken on low tide by a keen young fisho.

A great backwater barra taken on a heli-fishing trip. captures, from huge black marlin on the east coast, to sailfish on the west coast. By now, we’ll hear about the captures made during the 30th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic. This is a testing ground for some of the world’s greatest captures year after year. Of course, the weather plays a huge part in its success and more than likely some epic captures will occur after the tournament and well into November. Many fish have their mind set on spawning towards the end of spring and some very strict rules apply to fisheries and closed season this time of year. Besides barramundi seasonal closures on both coasts, there is also a Coral Reef finfish closure from

26-30 November. More than other times of the year, try and leave fish alone once you’ve caught your fill. Spawning congregations of fish such as golden snapper and nannygai can be disturbed when large fish are caught and released, with mortality rates rather high. Some of the larger specimens might be responsible for replacing tens of thousands of fingerlings to come, so fish responsibly, take only what you need and keep your favourite fisheries healthy into the future. • For information on remote charter operations for tailored fishing adventures, please email Tim on wildrivercompany



Hot weather is set to fire up the reef fishing WEIPA

Mark Bargenquast

Summer is on its way with our daytime temperatures hitting 38°C. The weather isn’t the only thing that’s been hot – the fishing is going off too!

The past few weeks have seen excellent numbers of big Spaniards averaging 10-18kg with the odd larger fish as well. Usual areas like the 3 Mile, Speedys, 9 Mile and just about anywhere in between have there fair shares of fish where you find birds working over bait.

Spaniards need to be handled well if you are to release them. Unhook them in the water, as a fish taken aboard for pictures is doomed to die, so you’re better off eating it rather than feeding it back to the sharks! Longtail tuna have been patchy, but a few have

Golden snapper love a micro jig.

The reefs are firing up with plenty of species on offer.


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been offshore on the 20m line. Sailfish numbers are good with the odd small black marlin mixed in. Reefies are biting well with golden snapper, sweetlips, tuskies and trout on livies, green prawns and crab baits. The annual barra season spawning closure is now on in the Gulf, but prior to that they were showing in good numbers. Weipa is famous for its pygmy strain of barra, but the odd metery is around. The largest I’ve heard of up here was a staggering 151cm

fish from the Rocky Point Boat Ramp. The next month will see an increase in big golden snapper on the shallow reefs. They love livebaits, but I prefer to vibe them or fish light plastics. Be ready for big hits, as a 75cm golden snapper can hit hard on light tackle. We’ve recently been micro-jigging a few – this technique is deadly on most reefies up here including black jew. The inshore flats and beaches have good sight fishing, when conditions suit

for blue bastards, permit, queenies and trevally. There’s always something to see when you have a look in close. Another species that’s firing is the mighty jack. Weipa has five rivers that flow into Albatross Bay and jacks live there! Look right up the top end of the systems for the best results. We have plenty of rock bars and snags to catch a few. Personally, I can’t kill a jack – they have real character. They’re too cool a fish to catch!


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Ben Godfrey with a barra caught on a fly.

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Angus James Instagram: @jimmygusjames

Mangrove jacks are really starting to fire up here in the tropical north, especially in the sweetwater streams. I had an absolute blinder of a session a few

size in the estuaries and offshore. As far as land-based fishing goes, these little red dogs can provide some of the most exciting finesse fishing available. I like to use a super light rod rated 1-3kg. I spool up with 5lb braid on a 1000 reel, run a fluorocarbon leader around

remember to have that drag set nice and tight. These little rockets pull hard and fast! Another local critter worth the effort to chase are the sooties. They’re also hard-hitters, especially when it comes to smacking lures. These fish will be close to any structure in the freshwater systems, ready to

The author with a cracker mangrove jack.

These are beautiful, hard-fighting fish that’ll give you a lot of fun. days ago – just about every snag had a platoon of angry red dogs ready to chase down and assault my soft plastic offerings. The fish in the freshwater systems are smaller models compared to the average

the 8lb range and it’s game on. It’s such a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Rigging your plastics weedless is going to get you more results. Get your presentation as tight into the structure as you can, and

pounce on any nutrient-rich looking bit of tucker. These are a super powerful species and know how to put your angling skills to the test when you’re hooked-up. I love using spinnerbaits for these hard-

hitting football shaped brutes. The flash and vibration really gets their attention in most situations. Attach a soft plastic to the stinger hook and you have a deadly artificial presentation that will result in a bent rod and your adrenalin pumping, as they fight their way to the hard cover. Jungle perch are beautiful fish and the environment they’re found

find, so your hunting skills really come into play when targeting this species. They’re so switched on to everything that’s happening above the water. That extra effort to be stealthy will certainly account for more fish. All the best out there and remember, a bad day’s fishing beats a good day’s work.

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Canny anglers visit Cania Dam BRISBANE

Wayne Kampe

I’d heard about Cania Dam for around 20 years, first from my mentor Ted Clayton from my earliest photo journalism days, and when others mentioned Cania it was always the

‘Rewarding’ doesn’t quantify the experience. There’s a lot more to fishing Cania Dam than simply the species of fish to be caught. The scenery was exceptional, as the impoundment is located in a wide gorge with huge buff coloured sandstone walls towering in various areas. While Borumba Dam with its rainforest setting is

A silver perch taken by the author – small mouthed but hard fighters. Free BBQs and big camp kitchens make a stay at this park very enjoyable.

Youngsters will find plenty to do at the Park, with water slides and swimming pools always popular.

This is but a tiny fraction of the available camping ground at the Cania Gorge Caravan and Tourist Park. same theme – terrific toga, brawling bass, sensational silver perch and the scenery of Cania Gorge. While it sounded so enticing, this was an impoundment I hadn’t fished. Bass were close to South Queensland, toga were in Borumba, the silvers a very

pretty special, the sight of those huge sandstone bluffs fairly glowing in the last hours of day is certainly not going to be forgotten. AN EASY DRIVE, A PLEASANT STAY For the record, a drive from Brisbane to Monto and then onto Cania Dam (the

100kph is readily achieved for most of the road. The dam is 34km from Monto. There are two caravan parks close to Cania Dam – the Big Four Cania Gorge Tourist Park is closest to the dam at a mere 5km away. The very well established and impeccably maintained Tourist Park is set within a remarkable, flat valley adjoining the Cania Gorge national park. Complementing the huge number of powered and unpowered campsites on hand were plenty of van sites for caravan owners to set up their pride and joys, while those without mobile homes or tents could just as easily settle into other handy accommodation with air conditioned ensuite equipped villas and cabins. The entire Tourist Park with its four star rating is family orientated, impeccably maintained and set up for all to enjoy. Damper and billy tea were on the free list of a morning smoko – naturally, we missed it as we were always fishing. Outdoor movies are provided on selected nights for young and old to enjoy. For me, one of the highlights during our time in the park was the absolute serenity of the experience, especially during the night. Somewhat accustomed to staying in other venues close to fishing areas, where a minority seem to think that excessive night revelry is their right, it just seems “too bad” for others who don’t

like loud music or raucous voices becoming louder as the night progresses. The absolute quiet after dark stood in stark contrast. PLENTY TO DO The family orientation saw activities during the day for kids centred around any of the park’s three swimming pools, the huge jumping pillow – I admit to having a go – the tennis court and

of a full sized camp fire for all comers. Entertainment is also provided with story telling and bush poetry. For those who like to cook their own tucker, massive camp kitchens offered ample facilities with TV entertainment as a bonus. The Park is an ideal venue for a special event, as a very large multi-function events room has been set up with surround sound, an overhead projector with screen, an electronic white board, laptop connections and a PA

Now that’s a dining hall and a half. The area in the rear right is a full sized baker’s oven. Pizza anyone? bird feeding with parrots and kookaburras, and the chance for youngsters to explore the massive area on two pedal powered wheels. Adult holidaymakers could enjoy a cappuccino at the reception area’s Cania Café, a look at one of the TVs while waiting for the evening camp oven cooking session to provide a hearty home style meal. Other culinary delights include wood fired pizzas from a full old style baker’s oven on site, wine tasting, and the enjoyment

system to cater for up to 100 people. For the golfers among us, there’s a golf course with some of the narrow fairways in a bushland setting destined to test the skill of participants. Something different is the Disc Golf where a Frisbee like disc is hand thrown to a target area with the least throws ascertaining a winner. Another activity that’s popular – along with fishing, which we’ll look at shortly – are the many bush walks within the 3000 hectare Cania Gorge National Park and nearby area. Spectacular views of the sandstone gorge are highlights – this is the chance to get out in the real world and enjoy some clean air and exercise. Tracks are well marked and graded for levels of ability. FEATHERED FRIENDS I would be remiss not to mention the park’s wildlife. A stay there will readily renew acquaintances with our native wildlife. It’s special to have rainbow lorikeets, king parrots and apostle birds perched on your shoulders

Fat bass were a feature of this trip to Cania Dam.

A swimming pool adjacent to one of the camp kitchens is just one of the many attractions. occasional catch in Somerset Dam. In the last decade, barra have dominated a lot of fishing action. After a recent health issue that made me wake up, I resolved to get stuck into the fishing and we finally made the seven hour journey to Cania. 74


turn off from the Burnett Highway is very well signed) took us around seven hours as we left late in the day. The drive was pleasant, as the Burnett Highway is an excellent road with few areas requiring reduced speed. This means the proverbial

All appliances and ample seating are featured within the park’s camp kitchens.

The dam and gorge are well signed off the Burnett Highway.

As the Bullshark headed up the impoundment, we found some very large bays which held areas of standing timber at their back sections, all of which made casting for a saratoga, bass or silver perch an enjoyable experience. Given that the major bays all held timber, the main areas of drowned trees started about 8km from the ramp. It was interesting to find that a fish could be taken on our 8 weight fly tackle virtually anywhere we persevered, whether it was timber on the edge of a 15m deep bank or a small flat with but 4-5m of water showing on the Gen 3 HDS Lowrance. Obviously, there are no barra in this dam!

BASS ON THE JOB Much the same as other dams, there’s not a fish hiding behind every shaded limb, but a decent effort paid decent rewards. I took a toga first cast one morning, which pleased me no end. Bass were consistent from around the timber, schooling up near timber or at point ends. These were never hard to find. Schooled fish were found exactly where we might find them in, say, Somerset Dam – holding in masses in 8-10m depth, on the edge of the riverbed or off a jutting point. They were working hard on hapless bony bream by the look of offerings spewed into our landing net as we boated fish with our deep fly tackle.

The bass we encountered in Cania Dam weren’t huge by Somerset or Wivenhoe Dam standards, but still consistently large at 45-48cm most times. However, where we found the fish on Monday they were absent on Tuesday and it was necessary to scout around to find another fresh school. Silver perch were by-catch when fishing around timber for saratoga

from the wall. This means there are ample sheltered arms in which to seek out fish. An SIP is required to fish this waterway as well. Overall, it was well worth the journey, even just to enjoy the magnificent scenery and the close up encounters with friendly wildlife. SUMMING UP From my experience in plenty of other camping

One for Wayne – the author admires a decent Cania bass. as these feathered friends do their best to share a toasted sandwich. Likewise, it was really unique to see a kangaroo gently nibbling grass a couple of metres from the breakfast table, and a very cute mini wallaby approached the meal table at night to see what’s doing. A VERY CLEAN AND EASILY FISHED DAM The launching area at the dam is well set up with ample parking, a great BBQ and

picnic facilities on hand. Fish were on the sounder almost as soon as the boat cleared the ramp. For the record, Cania Dam held some very clear water last month and I found it a consistently deep impoundment close to 15m in depth once away from the main basin area adjacent to the ramp. Right from the outset there were sufficient points to interest the bass angler looking for fish schooled up.

When the sounder was showing bass in these numbers, a hook-up didn’t take long.

A neat toga taken on fly gear by Denise Kampe.

and bass and flies tied on size 2 hooks were almost too large for these smallmouthed fish. A series of hard picks always heralded a strong hook-up. Cania Dam is quite suited to even small tinnies, as the impoundment is somewhat narrow despite extending for quite some distance

areas and tourist parks over the last three decades of writing, I’d rate the Cania Gorge Caravan and Tourist Park’s peaceful family orientated ambience as right up with the best. While I love my fishing, it was so great to enjoy peaceful nights and the beauty of the friendly wildlife.

Cania4 Gorge




n park Creek 5 kms from our carava Situated on the Three Moon raction to our tourists. Lake Cania is a very big att n stocked d dams in Qld, and has bee It is one of the top 4 stocke ato ow Belly and Sar ga. with fish including Bass, Yell iation holds its... Cania Fish Stocking Assoc ition Major Annual Fishing Compet ber em Nov in on the 2nd weekend


Bush Walks


l Events Room l Bird Feeding l Jumping Pillows l Pools & Water Park Complex l Outdoor Movies

07 4167 8188

Fishing l Bettongs l Wine Tasting l Tennis Court l Open Fires l Self Drive 4WD Trips

Kayaking l Camp Oven Dinner l Morning Tea l Challenging nine hole

golf course l Plenty of Red Claw

Phil Marshall Drive Monto QLD NOVEMBER 2016


Freshwater still firing TOOWOOMBA

Jason Ehrlich

It may be closed barra season this month in the salt, but that doesn’t stop us chasing the big girls in the freshwater impoundments. Barra activity should peak this month across most of the dams and with powerful fish over 120cm long on offer, you’d be mad to miss it. On the bass scene, things

will slow a bit in some of the dams, but you can still expect good numbers on a range of techniques. Those lakes well known for their surface fishing will start to produce more fish too. You can’t beat watching fish eat your lures. Golden perch will fire right up. A few lakes may be dirty due to heavy rain over the last couple of months, but most will be clear enough for luring heaps of goldens. The Murray cod season is still closed but

SOUTH EAST QUEENSLAND CRESSBROOK CLOSEST TOWN: CROWS NEST There have been quite a few bass about with some quality ones amongst them. The point right in front of the shallow boat ramp and the first point out from the campground are good starting points. Being so close, they are perfect for paddle craft, as you don’t need to travel too far. Bass have also been reported up past the pump tower at the end of the Bull (Beams) Creek arm. Some fish can be caught earlier in the day

by casting towards the lake’s edges. These fish will eat spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits. The action usually doesn’t last long and with the days heating up faster, the fish will retreat back to cooler temperatures. Deeper schools will be found in over 7m of water with quite a bit of action taking place in 10m. In this depth, casting heavier lures like 18g Jets tail-spinners, 20g spoons, Jackall Mask Vibes, medium sized blade baits and 1/2oz jighead rigged soft plastics can attract the bites. Like all bass, these fish are fussy and will refuse

Kinchant barra should be found in more areas of the dam once the water warms throughout the lake. This fish came from deeper water, so always keep an eye out for fish holding in 5-7m of water. Sometimes they’ll be found near the bottom, other times suspended.


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

AUG SEP OCT 6 6 21 87 85 89 40 39 44 46 44 46 91 90 100 100 97 58 80 79 81 86 85 96 16 15 28 62 62 69 29 75 55

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

14 17







others. Worms and yabbies tend to pick up a few catfish, but the bass don’t find them anywhere near as interesting as a succulent shrimp. The only other bait I know that’s rarely used but comes close is mudeyes (dragonfly larvae) and brown grasshoppers. For all your fishing supplies and the latest reports on Cressbrook and the surrounding dams, call in to see the specialist tackle stores in Toowoomba. Tackle World Toowoomba in Ruthven Street on the north side and Fish’n’Bits in Alderly Street closer to the south side have a great range of lures and fishing gear. Support these tackle

22 47 53 78 76 87 8 8 55 100 100 84 50 49 42 26 46 30 99 99 96 88 87 80 99 98 67 48 60 57 12 26 21 90 88 101

Gold Coast


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



23 25

Cairns 1





Townsville 2

3 4

Proserpine 6 Mackay





29 7


Highlighted dams are covered in this issue


30 8

Bundaberg 9



stores, because they’ll be able to direct you to where the fish are biting and offer invaluable advice. Just remember there is a speed limit of 8 knots and a restricted area at Cressbrook Dam. Check out the signage to ensure you stay out of trouble and abide by the rules. The gate hours for the boat ramps and day use area will be extended this month to 6am-8pm. SOMERSET CLOSEST TOWNS: ESK, KILCOY The bass quality will start to taper off noticeably this month. The big, long 50cm+ fish will still be caught, but their fat bellies containing


roe will start to disappear. Those 3kg plus whoppers will soon be coming in at under 3kg, but don’t underestimate their pulling power. Schooling bass will be holding in several areas around the lake. It’s been an awesome year for this so far with several schools to choose from. At times, one spot may be tougher to entice a bite, while at another the fish are more willing. Rotate between them throughout the day to keep the fish coming over the side of the boat. The schools of bass can be found wide of the Spit, Pelican Point, Bay 13

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

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

98 100 97 94 94 94 88 93 92 66 65 80 63 62 73 47 93 100 80 80 100 95 96 82 51 47 75 99 100 99 81 80 94 92 91 95

For fortnightly updates on Sunwater dams visit This symbol indicates that a Stocked Impoundment Permit is required to fish these dams. All figures are % readings Current as of 17/10/16

(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.) 76



w w w. b a r g a i n b o a t b i t s. c o m . a u

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




brought to you by

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



there are a few lakes where you can successfully target them. Leslie and Glenlyon will be two of the best in Queensland. Check out closed seasons for the cod on the Qld Fisheries website to ensure you don’t break the rules and risk a fine. I’ve only touched on a few species so far and with others like sooty grunter and saratoga also firing up, it’s the right time to try your luck on the freshwater scene. Until next month, buckled rods from The Colonel! your best efforts, so play around with different lures and techniques to work out what they want to eat most. Lure trollers will be in with a shot this month. Deep diving lures worked around the points and through the deep water of the main basin are definitely the go. Trolling a smaller bodied lure that is capable of reaching 10m will get the bite. Models like the Little Rippa, Blitz Baga, Golden Child and RMG Poltergeist Crazy Deep are all worth a run. Bait fishers can experience some hot action when fishing on top of the bass schools. Live shrimp are the number one bait and will be taken before most



and out on the flats below Queen Street. Look in 7-10m of water for signs of fish near the bottom. When they’re harder to find, they can be hugging the bottom hard or may even venture out into the nearby riverbed where they will suspend. Regardless of location, they can usually be caught when using the right approach. Over the last few months, the bass have been quick to shut down when you sit stationary. By frequently moving, they stay a little more active. Keep this in mind if you are casting lures to them. If trolling, you won’t have the same problem. Slow trolling lures at around 2km/h with the electric motor has been the undoing of many big bass. Trolling hardbodies using the outboard will also achieve the desired goal. When the boat is constantly on the move, the bass don’t school up below it. If you strike a good day, they may chew below the boat, but on most occasions they just get harder to tempt the longer you try. Reaction lures like tail-spinners and heavier spoons have been deadly on the fish. Slow winding these or trolling them through the schools has been most effective this year. Occasionally, hopping may outperform a slow wound lure, but usually it’s the other way around. Soft plastics rigged on 1/2oz or 5/8oz jigheads have also taken their share of fish over the past month. Keep one rigged up at all times just to compare its performance over the reaction style lures. The golden perch action should now be in full swing. These golden lure munchers will be patrolling the steeper rock walls around the Spit. Trolling medium diving lures along these walls can result in good numbers when they’re on the chew. The ledges to the old

creek and riverbed in the dam’s middle reaches can also produce well when chasing the yellas. Look for old stumps right on the drop off, as the goldens hold close to these in better numbers. In the timber north of Kirkleigh, trolling between the trees and around the old river bed edges will also tempt plenty of strikes. Lure tossers will pick up more goldens this month when targeting bass. You can specifically chase the golden perch by hopping small blades around submerged structure. The old stumps on the creek beds can perform well, but usually the submerged trees in the mouth of Wyangi Creek, Queen Street and up north of Kirkleigh are better. Any old trees lying on the bottom on flats in 6-8m of water can be a gold mine. For the latest reports, check out Somerset Fishing Tackle online and on Facebook. The store is in Kilcoy but they mail-order fishing gear all over the place. For some of the most competitive prices around, visit the website at www. WIVENHOE CLOSEST TOWNS: ESK, FERNVALE The bass and golden perch fishing at Wivenhoe has been red hot for the past two months. Finding the schooling fish is necessary to achieve good catch rates. Otherwise, fork-tailed catfish will be all that slimes up your boat. The bass were kept secret for a while, but now the word is out about their location. These fish may start to move around, so be prepared to search for them. The schools were holding around the deep flats between Billies Bay and Platypus Cliffs. These fish were on the flats and old creek ledges in up to 15m of water. Catching the bass and dodging the catfish was a problem that will only worsen, as the whiskery catties get even more active in the warmer water.

SUNSHINE COAST REGION MACDONALD CLOSEST TOWNS: TEWANTIN, NOOSA There have been bass schooling in the deeper parts of the dam’s lower reaches outside the weed edges. These fish will take vibes and tail-spinners. The warmer water will increase surface activity so an early morning session with poppers around weed will see some quality bass landed. As the day wears on, switch to soft plastics and blade baits and pop them out of the weed as you retrieve them back to the boat. There should be a few golden perch around the outside of the weed beds for

the lure trollers to target. The bubbler can also hold heaps of goldens at this time of year. Be sure to call in and see the staff at Davo’s Tackle World Noosa. They have a great range of tackle to target fish in the fresh and the salt. They’ll be able to steer you in the right direction and get you hooked-up before you know it. BORUMBA CLOSEST TOWNS: IMBIL, NOOSA The bass have been active at Borumba on the deep water points in the basin and at the start of the timber around the Junction. These fish may venture

Blake’s lunch break was broken by a double hook-up on Somerset bass. Both fish ate tail-spinners trolled through deep suspending schools. The most successful method is slow winding the new Hot Bite Gang Banger Spoon. These lures weigh 20g and stay down nice and deep where the fish are. The ability to cast a lure over 60m away from the boat is also a big help when the fish are spread out across the flats. Sink these lures to the bottom and then start winding them back at a slow to medium pace. If you watch the lure beside the boat at slower speeds, or in a swimming pool, you’ll see it actually swims side to side. If you wind too fast, like all spoons, the lure starts to spin. Get the feel for how fast to wind and the speed range at which they can be presented. As the lure is wound 10-20 winds off the bottom, open the bail of the reel, drop it back to the bottom and repeat. Some fishers like the feel of fishing their spoons on baitcast tackle, but I prefer to get the extra distance and maintain lure depth by using a light spinning outfit spooled with 6-8lb braid. Trolling deep diving lures in the same area has also been very successful. Lures will need to crash dive to at least 10m to reliably catch fish all day long. The secret to getting this deep is using 4-8lb braided line and a lot of line out (50m+) behind the boat. Lures like Little Rippas, Blitz Bagas and Poltergeist Crazy Deeps can achieve these depths.

Golden perch have been taking spoons and occasionally a trolled lure intended for bass. These fish can be specifically targeted on some of the rocky, steep banks in the main dam body by trolling medium diving lures. The upper reaches of the dam below Somerset and around O’Sheas Crossing are home to heaps of golden perch. This water is best accessed from the O’Sheas Crossing day access area below the bridge. Trolling 3m divers or a slow trolled TN60 Jackall will catch plenty of fish in these waters. MOOGERAH CLOSEST TOWNS: BOONAH, ARATULA The bass have had a bit of a spell over the last couple of months with less fishing pressure than normal. This can get them a bit more responsive to eating lures and make the bite times last longer. Schooling bass have been holding around the point extending out from the campground boat ramp towards the dam wall. Other areas worth a look will be the eastern banks and points in the same area, the flats out from the Palms and any flats inside the timber. Casting Jets tail-spinners, Gang Banger Spoons and Jackall Mask Vibes caught quite a few fish last month. If the schooling fish start to scatter early, trolling may become a good option too. Trolling tends to be effective through the warmer months

further up into the arms and the points and deeper timber inside the Yabba arm will be well worth a look. Sound around to find these fish, as there can be a lot of barren water between the schools. When the fish are holding down deep, in the open water away from the trees, use long casts with blade baits, mask vibes and tail-spinners. In the tighter country, soft plastics are a cheaper alternative and you are bound to lose a few. Rig plastics like Gulp Minnow Grubs and Slider Grubs on 3/8 or 1/2oz jigheads and work them through any schooling fish. In the upper parts of the feeder arms, saratoga should be willing to play the

game. Casting spinnerbaits to likely looking structure is the way to easily entice these fish. Keep quietly motoring along the banks and flicking into overhanging trees, lilies, weed and drowned timber in search of these amazing creatures. Spinnerbaits aren’t the only offering they’ll take. Lure casters can experiment with topwater lures, soft plastics and shallow diving hardbodies. Flyfishers also love to chase these fish and can find success on the surface and subsurface. When they’re actively feeding on top, you’ll see them roll on the surface and give away their location.

when the schools break up, so it won’t be long before they start eating lures towed behind the boat. The depth at which trolled lures should be presented will be determined by the fish. At times they will be deeper and require deep diving hardbodies to reach them. Often they’ll suspend, especially when lake temperatures warm up, and here they can be targeted by slow trolling TN60 Jackalls. MAROON CLOSEST TOWNS: BOONAH, BEAUDESERT The warmer months are a great time to chase Maroon’s bass population. The quality fish hold tight to the weed

and can be caught using several methods. Surface luring is visually the most exciting way to fool them. Casting topwater lures over the top of weed beds in the early hours of the morning before sunrise, and even later in the afternoon as the light fades, is the best to try this approach. Lures like the Cultiva Zip’n’Ziggy, 60mm Roosta Popper and OSP Bent Minnows are all different in their working actions, but effective nonetheless. As the light increases, the fish will drop deeper. You can often pull a few fish on suspending lures as they slow down on the surface. Spinnerbaits and beetle spin rigged plastics are a good option when the bites stop on the other lures. These wire baits can be used to search the edges of the weed where it drops away into deeper water. A good pair of polarised sunglasses is ideal to distinguish the colour change where the weed beds finish or have deeper pockets in them. Roll these bladed offerings close to the shadows and pockets created by the weed beds. Big bass like to dart from the cover to smash their food in a violent ambush.

2 Dams

1de stination H

South Burnett


· Boondooma Dam · Bjelke-Petersen Dam ·

The BEST place in QLD to catch Australian Bass and Yellowbelly




SAVE CATCH of the month



Dave caught this Bass whilst pre fishing for ABT Grand final on a tailspinner

Pat Conduit caught this bass at Boondooma on a homemade spinnerbait NOVEMBER 2016


DARLING DOWNS GRANITE BELT REGION COOBY CLOSEST TOWNS: HIGHFIELDS, TOOWOOMBA As predicted, it’s been a slow start to the golden perch action at Cooby. The fish usually step it up a notch this month and much better numbers can be caught. Bait fishers, trollers and lure casters will be rewarded on a more regular basis. The weed edge is looking healthy and working medium diving lures 3-5m inside its perimeter will see you in with a good chance. Slow trolling a TN60 Jackall is a proven method and you can also run small hardbodies like the 50mm Poltergeist or size 3 JJ’s StumpJumper. Dark colours are often more successful and it usually pays to try just before the sun sets when the fish feed more. Lure casters can try to locate schooling golden perch on the weed edge and deeper water. Catch these fish by hopping lures through them or vertical jigging. Small blades like the ZX40 are perfect for both presentations. Use a sharp hop to make the blade vibrate and then sink it back to the bottom before the next hop. Most bites will come as the lure sinks back down, so stay switched on and ready to strike.

For hopping around the boat, the ZX40 will do the job, but it also pays to try with a lipless crankbait. The TN60 Jackall standard rattling model is perfect for this. You can sink these lures to the bottom and hop them back or slowly wind them before dropping them back to the bottom. Cooby Dam’s proximity to Highfields and Toowoomba makes it a very popular fishery. If you’re looking for somewhere close to home to drop the boat or kayak in, Cooby is definitely worth a visit. The dam hours are now 6am-8pm, which is perfect to fish into the dark for a late arvo cod. Just remember no outboard motors are allowed to be used on the dam. The concrete boat ramp is on a shallow angle when the dam is full and can be slippery in places, but a big electric powered boat can still be launched with care. Outboard motors can be left on the boat but must not be used. Tackle, lures and saltwater yabbies can be purchased from Highfields Bait and Tackle on the New England Highway in Highfields. Call in and see Doug and check out the great range of fishing gear, kayaks and accessories he has on display.

Golden perch will be more active this month with the water warming even more. Jigging and hopping lures across the bottom is a good way to entice them. Tail-spinners like the Jets 18g are perfect when they fire up and are prepared to chase after faster offerings like trolled lures. LESLIE CLOSEST TOWN: WARWICK After a rise in level with rain over the past couple of months, Leslie Dam has continued to produce fish. The shallow banks have fished well with land-based anglers scoring fish on worms and shrimp. Golden perch and silver perch have been the most common


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Outdoor and Sports at 115 Palmerin Street Warwick. For a small store, it carries a great range at a very competitive price. Warwick is only a 10-minute drive from the dam and you can pick up any supplies you might need. COOLMUNDA CLOSEST TOWN: INGLEWOOD The fishing at Coolmunda has been very

Keep moving along the banks in the upper half of BOONDOOMA Bait fishers can pick up the dam before the timber CLOSEST TOWNS: a supply of shrimp from the and sooner or later, you’ll PROSTON, KINGAROY dam. Shrimp traps left in come across an active bunch Schooling fish in the overnight should produce of fish. Rotate through the deeper water will provide enough bait to have some above lures to work out what most of the action this month fun. Shrimp will produce fish the fish prefer. Along with with a few around the edges from all over the dam, but the bass, golden perch will earlier in the mornings. Cast it’s best to locate the better also make an appearance spinnerbaits and lipless schools on the flats between when using these methods. crankbaits to the rocky Pelican Point and the Junction. As the dam continues to points, healthier weed beds If you’re able to do this, the warm, the fish may move out and banks in the timbered fish should be taking a new from the edges and suspend arm. Early in the day, this shrimp bait within seconds of in deeper water. Keep an should produce bass and it reaching them. eye on your sounder as it golden perch. The action Boondooma is a great tells the whole story. Even may not last long, but as the place to camp right near the in deeper water, they should day brightens up, the fish water, sit by the fire and enjoy keep eating cast lures. Lure will retreat to deeper water. the view. You could also stay trolling with medium divers, Look for schooling bass in more style and comfort which run 4-6m deep, will in the lake’s second basin. by booking into one of the become an option. Sound out from the banks cabins overlooking the dam. For help catching Bjelke in the Junction to Pelican The kiosk at the main office and Boondooma fish, call Point area and wander from does hot food and other basic into Bass 2 Barra. The store 6-11m to pinpoint where items including an excellent stocks an awesome range the fish are. Once found, range of proven fishing tackle. of gear suited to chasing these bass should be quite For campsites, cabins and our freshwater fish and the responsive and will take bunkhouse rooms, call (07) staff have all the knowledge a range of offerings. Jets 4168 9694. to guide you on how to tail-spinners were working BJELKE use it. You’ll find the stores well last month and should » 2 STROKE CLOSEST 119 Youngman Street OR TOWNS: 4 STROKE atOPTIONS continue These TO MURGON, GOOMERI Kingaroy. Matthew Mott » 2HP EFto produce. 90HP » SHORT OR LONG SHAFT bass can also FI take spoons, The bass and golden also runs fishing charters on CIEvibes and perch are still firing » Cand blade baits, soft you can reach T dams LE » S I LatE Nthe AN NT » PBjelke. FU Lfishers 75mm soft plastic paddleare him through the store for OWERBait tails or curl-tails rigged on having fun on the goldens bookings and enquiries on WERRIBEE COREY GAUCI MARINE ������������������������������������03 8763 2565 1/2oz jigheads. fishing live shrimp up in the276(07) SUNSHINE DAMIEN HYDE MARINE �����������������������������������0455 8334162 7555. Trolling was steady last timber. You can expect some The Yallakool kiosk is WALLAN DAYS MOTORCYCLES & MARINE �����������������������03 5783 3500 AT month, but things will pick thumping big fish with them. all set up AVAILABLE with a great range HINDMARSH (SA) FITCH THE RUBBER MAN ������������������� 08 8346 5193 up by the end of this month The edges of the dam are of tackle if you don’t happen MOOROOK (SA) MOOROOK MARINE ��������������������������������08 8583 9185 and leading into December. still holding good numbers of to have the right lure or FRANKLIN (TAS) FRANKLIN MARINE ��������������������������������� 03 6266 3768 If you want to give trolling bass. These fish can be taken lose one. Be sure to call in LAUNCESTON (TAS) C�H SMITH MARINE ���������������������������03 6344 1166 a go, locate fish first and on cast lures. and check it out. Give them BURNIE (TAS) BURNIE MARINE SERVICES ����������������������� 03 6431 3082 then troll a tail-spinner or Soft plastics, lipless a call for accommodation soft plastic at about 2km/h crankbaits, spinnerbaits and and camping bookings on through them. blade baits are all effective. (07) 4168 4746. WIDE BAY AND BURNETT REGION

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and can be caught from the eastern shoreline. Trolling was taking its share last month with quite a few caught along the Washpool bank on medium diving lures. The Kezza Mudmouse and Oar Gees produce the goods. Things should only get better for trolling this month. Along with getting a fishing report, stock up on all your gear while at Warwick

slow since the rises in level over the past couple months. This has dirtied the water and made lure fishing difficult. If you’re planning a trip there, compare the clarity in the basin to the rivers that run into the dam, to see where lures will be most effective. Bait fishing with live shrimp would be my suggestion. The smell and movement of these critters should be enough to entice a few bites. Golden perch will be most common, with a few catfish. Try fishing the flooded banks as well as the drop offs to the old creek bed in around 5-7m of water. The Coolmunda Caravan Park is only around 1km away from the lake. The park is just off the Cunningham Highway, but far enough away from the noise of trucks to get a good night’s sleep. It offers camping sites, cabins, caravan facilities, tennis courts, a swimming pool, BBQ shelter and a camp kitchen. The park now has an extra two new wheelchair friendly cabins to add to their older ones. Camping is also available near the boat ramp with toilets and hot showers to make your stay more comfortable. To take advantage of this and the great fishing opportunities in the lake and the river below, give the park a call on (07) 4652 4171.


MACKAY REGION KINCHANT CLOSEST TOWNS: MACKAY, MIRANI Despite being the right time of year for catching lots of barra, the fish have been a bit stubborn over the last month. The full moon may see this change and the barra might leave the comfort of the weedy shallows to feed in more open areas where they are more accessible. A lack of fish close to the outside edge of the weed has seen switched

on anglers locating deeper fish in up to 7m of water. These fish can then be targeted on hard or soft vibes. The dam level is up and the weed is a bit different. In the shallows, a rigid stemmed weed grows through the water and has leafs protruding above it. It has taken hold covering acres of water. This weed is dense and finding an opening big enough to work a lure is hard. The barra are in there and the next challenge after

hooking them is to extract them from such tight and unforgiving cover. I haven’t had a go at them yet, but will try to take them on in the coming weeks. I’ve been thinking hard about the best presentations and ways to go about extracting them. So far I think the best offerings would be weedless rigged plastics. You could try frogging the top or slow winding paddletails just under the surface. Once these fish are hooked, I’d be fighting them on a loose drag when I’m in trouble and

Kinchant barra have refused to bite after dark, but this should all change around the full moon periods. Try casting soft plastics and rolling them back over wind blown points and flats. This fish came from a hot session with bite after bite for 10 minutes. Around that time, fish were there, but the action was non-existent.

tightening up if I get them into a clearing. Even on a loose drag, the line will bite into the vegetation as they wrap around it creating more than enough pressure. If you’re planning on fishing Kinchant, Teemburra or Eungella, be sure to call in and see Bruce and Ash at Nashy’s Compleat Angler on Harbour Road, North Mackay. Ash works in the store and as a fishing guide on the lakes. Some firsthand information for where they’re biting always goes a long way. Nashy’s has a great range of tackle suited to the dams, as well as all the fishing options around the Mackay area. You can call the store for more information or to put some gear on hold, on (07) 49572272. TEEMBURRA CLOSEST TOWNS: PINNACLE, MACKAY Teemburra has fished a bit better than Kinchant, but you still need to work for the bites. As the water warms up a bit more, things should improve across both lakes. Changing wind directions and cool nights have contributed to the tougher fishing conditions. Deeper holding fish seem to cope with these changes better. Locating barra in 4-7m of water close to drop offs or other deep water access seems to be the best option. These deeper fish can then

be targeted on vibration lures. The FLT Transam is still one of the best. These soft bodied lures crunch up when the fish grab them, which helps prevent the straightening of hooks. The deeper fish have also been the better quality ones with plenty well over a metre in length. When fish are located in the shallows, they are often smaller soft plastic munching models. The deep trees in Teemburra Creek have held some suspended barra, which hold around 3m deep. Trolling diving lures at this depth is worth a go if the fish are still present. The best bite times have occurred throughout the day often coinciding with high tide on the coast. The sunset bite has also been good, but bites have been few and far between after dark. Ash Simms from Nashy’s Compleat angler has been guiding on the dam recently. You can reach him through the store or on Facebook at Fishin’ Magician to make a booking. PROSERPINE CLOSEST TOWNS: PROSERPINE, AIRLIE BEACH Changing wind conditions made the fishing unpredictable last month. One day’s hotspot could be barren the next as the fish

moved around. Fishing in deeper areas seemed to be more productive and reliable. Hopping vibes to schooling barra located on the sounder is a proven way to get the bites when things are tough. Once they’re found, it can be harder to stop them before they stitch you up than hooking them. As the core temperature of the dam rises and becomes more stable, the fish should be more predictable. The deeper fish will rise to shallower areas around weed beds and submerged humps and points to feed. Night sessions around the full moon will be very popular and productive. There should also be an increase in daytime activity around the shallows and out in the deep water where fish will take cast vibes and trolled deep divers. For all your fishing supplies or a guided trip on the lake, call Lindsay or Dane at Barra World on (07) 4945 4641. The store has just ordered in heaps of new tackle and will stock a bigger range of gear from this month. Barra World is right on the highway in Proserpine and specializes in barra fishing tackle. They also cater to the needs of anglers fishing nearby estuaries and offshore.




Golden Perch

Spring time yellowbelly NSWFM

Chris Frith

Spring is undoubtedly my favourite time to hit the water in search of golden perch. I cannot help but feel enshrouded in a buzz of anticipation as the final days of winter count down. With the

transcends through the entire food chain, from baitfish and yabbies to lizards and beetles. Ultimately, the exothermic yellowbelly thrive in these conditions as they can warm up and feast on the buffet of tasty morsels. Furthermore, for those who fish highly pressured waterways such as Windamere Dam, the early

progress quickly, with often only a three week window for a particular bite. Early September will see yellowbelly disperse out to sunny banks to warm up. I focus on banks with rock for radiating warmth, or weed for a concentrated bait source. In the past year, dams that have been long void

Spring is your best opportunity to tangle with trophy sized golden perch. Beating the late season angling pressure is key for larger specimens.

Blades are a hard option to beat in September. This chunky yellowbelly chowed down on an Atomic 1/4oz offering. beautiful weather that spring entails, combined with active, spawn mode yellowbelly and the fact that cod are off limits, the decision to actively target goldens is an easy one. With recent large scale rain events across inland NSW, this spring is set to be memberable. WHAT MAKES SPRING SO GOOD? September through to November offers the best yellowbelly bites of the year for a number of reasons. The fish have undergone winter hibernation and are ready to feed up on the abundant food on offer, warming weather and increased sunlight

spring periods will produce far more fish, particularly trophy specimens, as the winter break is a large window in which the fish see very few lures and associated pressure like sonar pings and boat noise. As spring progresses through October and November, golden perch will congregate in large numbers to spawn. This occurs in a number of areas on a waterway – if you’re prepared to suss out the local spawn areas, it can provide an unforgettable session. WHERE, WHEN AND WHAT TO USE Being a transitional season, the tactics I employ

of weed such as Keepit and Copeton have established impressive weed beds and I’m confident they’ll produce some terrific fishing come spring. In contrast to the traditional freshwater bite, times of early morning and late afternoon, sun-bathing yellowbelly will often become more active during the day where the natural warmth will boost their metabolism. Bladed lures are an absolute must for September. Their small profile and tight vibration make them irresistible to fish that aren’t keen on hunting down large lures. I tend to go small, with the 1/4oz Atomic

Metalz being my mainstay. Natural to dark patterns are ideal, such as muddy prawn or purple knight. When fishing blades, a slow retrieve is paramount; hop the bottom, allow the blade to rest for a few seconds between lifts and see a good percentage of catches take the lure while lying motionless. It sounds ridiculous, but works a treat! In addition to blades, lightly weighted plastics such as Atomic Prongs and 2.5” paddle-tails in avocado and camo tiger will draw some good attention.

During this period, bites may be tentative and require a bit of finesse to reduce pulling hooks. I run 8lb main and leader on a 2-6lb Samurai Reaction spin stick, which is soft enough to prevent losing fish. As the season progresses to more consistent warm days, the activity of yellowbelly will increase, as they scout the local waterways for potential breeding partners and areas to school up for spawn. With increased activity comes a greater nutritional demand, so they’ll be looking for more filling meals.

Lipless crankbaits come into their own during this period. They’re well suited to covering water while searching for schools, can be used right through the water column and are an effective enticement for goldens. Between 50-70mm lipless cranks are ideal. I opt for the Atomic Hardz Vibes due to their ability to be worked at a dead slow retrieve and still produce a meandering action. When looking for schools, I focus on prominent points in dams, or large, deep pools in rivers.

They’re not all giants, but catching large volumes of fish out of spawning schools can make for a memorable session.

Recent rain events across inland NSW will hold the waterways in good stead for the upcoming fishing season. 80


Some of my go-to spring lures, starting with my early season picks to the left, and finishing with my late season lollies.

Golden Perch A quality depth sounder can adequately show schooled fish. Spot hopping between likely looking areas is also an effective measure. Spawning yellowbelly are at their most aggressive and will respond to any number of lures you put in front of them. Trying to imitate a small yellowbelly is always a good option- nothing fires up buck goldens like a smaller fish in his territory, so don’t be afraid to throw

large lures such as Megabass Vibration-X Ultras. It can pay to up the artillery when the big, aggressive fish are active. I trade in the light gear for a 6-12lb Samurai Refraction and fish up to 17lb main and leader. The spawn bite can continue for a number of months into summer. The main issue that will lead to poorer results from fishing schools is the pressure from other anglers, particularly when fishing popular holes.

It always pays to spend a bit of time looking for back-up spawn areas, as they can be a saving grace when the popular spots stop producing. Late spring can be challenging at times, especially when the hot days start to roll through. When water temperatures begin to creep towards 30°C, it pays to focus on deeper water. Fish will remain schooled up into summer, so moving into deeper water off previous

Murray cod are an inevitable by-catch during spring. If possible, try to release any cod without removing them from the water, to better ensure a successful spawn.

As the weather warms up, the yellas feed up. Check out the girth on this slab.

spawn areas is a simple way of tracking fish. Deeper schools can be tricky, as many lures aren’t suited to reaching 25m+ depths. My preferred technique is hopping 60mm Semi-Hardz Vibes through these schools. Soft vibes are a natural presentation that produce a lifelike, fleeing baitfish action when hopped. Golden perch rarely school up midwater – work on maintaining bottom contact during the retrieve process. Deep water calls

for dark colours such as patterns with black or purple tones like dark shad. Alternatively, targeting standing timber with soft plastics is becoming a popular tactic in hot months. Vertically rolling 3” Plazos fat grubs on 1/4oz jigheads with a slow retrieve speed is highly reliable and will regularly draw bites when other techniques fail. An important issue to remember when fishing western waterways during spring is that Murray cod

are fully protected from September to November inclusive, with the exception of Copeton Dam. They will inevitably be encountered while targeting yellowbelly. Please be mindful to release all cod and avoid removing them from the water if possible. I hope this helps everyone have a memorable spring chasing our golden gems of the west. If I wasn’t already excited enough, I certainly am after writing this!



Mitsubishi Triton for work or play BRISBANE


Margay 2016


• 17’7” • Single axle Basscat trailer • 115 hp Mercury 4 stroke • 24v electric motor (Minn Kota or Motor Guide) • 2 x sounders (Humminbird 597cxi HD Di or Lowrance HDS 5)

Pantera II 2016

Wayne Kampe

It’s not every day I’m lucky enough to drive a top of the range vehicle with all bells and whistles, including leather seats and just about every electronic adjustment or function you could wish for. The Triton Exceed dual cab 4x4 provided the drive experience with ease. Updated, re-styled – thanks to an 80% upgrade to parts and panels – and sitting square in a field of very serious contenders such as the Ranger, Hilux, Navara, Amarok, BT50 and Isuzu D-Max, the fifth generation 2016 Triton is a serious bit of kit. It demands attention from new car buyers looking for genuine luxury in a work

The Triton’s good looks are apparent at the Cania Gorge Boat Ramp. ute, yet plenty of comfort for fun times. It’s a hard balance, by any standard, but Mitsubishi seem to

have done their homework and got this year’s Triton exactly right. Sales are on the move and there are plenty on


• 19’1” • Single axle Basscat trailer • 200 hp Mercury Optimax • 24v electric motor (Minn Kota or Motor Guide) • 2 x sounders (Humminbird 698cxi HD Si or Lowrance HDS 7 GEN2)

Yar-Craft 1785BT 2016 Subtle toning and flowing lines all enhance the Triton’s dash setup. our roads. Noise vibration and harshness have been cut to the bone. The ride has improved greatly with leaf springs still

at the rear, more room in the interior, particularly with the expansion of leg room for both driver and rear seat passengers, and a feeling of overall comfort and easiness on the road that’s hard to define, but easy to appreciate. This vehicle’s styling is more eye-pleasing with re-styled front bumper corners as well as the roof trailing edge. In the rearmost section of the main cabin, a tapering towards the restyled tub is quite noticeable. New, eye catching, rear tail lights are also a noticeable component of the redesign which sets the 2016 model well apart from previous models. FIVE SPEED AUTO DIESEL A 5-speed Aisin auto, smooth as a yard of custard and with imperceptible ratio changes, was icing on the cake. If a driver wanted to take control of gear changes it’s as easy as using the steering wheel paddles, or kicking the auto selector to the right to override the


• 17’5” • Single axle Basscat trailer • 75 hp Mercury 4 stroke • 24v electric motor (Minn Kota or Motor Guide) • 2 x sounders (Humminbird 597cxi HD Di or Lowrance HDS 5)

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Top: Styling changes are evident here, particularly around bumper extremities and a new grille. Above: Leather seating, electronic adjustment – that’s the Exceed grade Triton.

Changing drive mode on the fly is a handy Triton feature thanks to the console selector.

auto unit. While lavishing a bit of praise, let’s not overlook lighter steering and a smaller turning circle when comparing this model with its predecessors. The latter improvement is very handy when moving in or out of suburban parking lots, while the lighter steering, linked to a peppy 2.4L diesel engine outputting 133kW/430Nm just makes driving so much better, whether it’s moving off the stop line in the suburbs or punting along with a load behind. The tow capacity is 3100kg for a braked trailer, 750kg unbraked, which means that longer trips are something to look forward to rather than a chore.

of narrow bitumen between Gympie and Kilkivan with ease and overall returned a very pleasing 10.4L/100km. Looking at the maker’s claims of 7.5L/100km, it might seem as though we were short changed. I believe that in the real world of driving in quite varying conditions, the figure achieved was still very creditable. Night driving was as good as ever with Mitsubishi’s superb headlights, which is a big plus I’ve always admired in this maker’s vehicles. Features I really enjoyed were the Triton’s car-like standard of ride and handling, and the feeling of the utility – let’s not overlook that it’s basically a work ute. It was

Steering wheel paddles are on hand for those of us who like to play with the gear ratios. I feel that it’s worth mentioning that the new four cylinder 2.4L intercooled turbo diesel has been designed to pull extra hard rather than spin the wheels at the lights. There’s 25% extra torque at 1500rpm these days, but that said, the Triton auto was certainly no slouch off the mark. As a tow test, we hooked up the 4.3 TABS Bullshark and 40 E-Tec for a country run culminating in some fishing at Cania Dam. Naturally, we had a decent load of camping gear in the rear as well, but none of this phased the Triton. We easily managed highway speeds on the M1 to Gympie, found the Triton took the uneven areas

A massive central screen, dual air conditioning and a host of features on hand are all additions that the Triton owner can enjoy. very taut and surprisingly quiet, with both driver and passenger insulated from external noise and, to a large extent, road bumps and thumps. The top shelf Triton had a very good stereo system combined with a CD player, SD card and satellite navigation on the big 7” screen that was outstanding as a reversing camera. Bluetooth voice control and audio streaming is available on all Triton models. It was pleasing to note a standard of interior finish that was both eye catching and highly practical. The overall design seems to flow from

the centre of the dash to the outer areas and onto the centre console. In all, this

is a very upmarket setup with a modern-as-tomorrow appearance.

SUMMING UP Driving modes were activated by a console dial with 2H, 4H and 4L all at the fingertips. An electronic diff lock was standard as well. The new Triton is provided in two or four wheel drive variants with GLX, GLS and the top shelf Exceed all offering differing levels of luxury and convenience features. A 5 star ANCAP safety rating is standard as is a 5 year/100,000 km warranty. My view is that anyone in the market for a sound, easily driven and appreciated work ute with comfort, refinement and modern styling for a bonus, should take a good look at the 2016 Triton. It’s more bang for your buck than some competitors, and has lot to offer.

Out with the old and in with the new – this year’s Triton has looks to complement the enhanced ride and handling.

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Fishing Fill-its

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Promoting a responsible fishery


Stefan Sawynok

Anyone who’s had a chance to visit the wild Pacific North West will be able to tell you there’s some spectacular fishing to be had. I recently had the opportunity to do some digging under the hood of the Washington State fishery, as a part of a trip to the US presenting at a conference in San Diego. First of all, I’ll confess that everything I knew about Washington State came from watching the 90’s TV series Twin Peaks. That includes the

lessons from the trip, which I’ll share. Rather than my usual technical detail, I’ll tell the story of the fishery through the eyes of people encountered. BILL OSBORN Bill is the neighbour of the folks I was staying with, Rick and Amy Moyer. Rick is a Radio DJ/Musician who I worked with on a yearlong audio book project, a few years back. Bill is an ex-teacher in his eighties and started work at the local high school in 1968. He’s a serious guy and tells it how it is, so you always know where you stand. I had a blast getting the guided tour of his tackle box, including a full range of techniques. Bill was an early

Steve Morgan in action doing interviews at the ABT Queensland Open. fact that fishing for salmon comes with the risk of finding dead teens, that coffee is amazing, and Washington State is where cherry pies go to die. I can confirm that the latter two are true. I found an abandoned pumping station for a nuclear power plant while on the water, but fortunately no bodies. The other thing I learned from Twin Peaks is that the people are hospitable to a fault. This is also true. People everywhere bent over backward. Washington State is blessed with bountiful natural resources and beauty, and the people seem to reflect the generosity of the natural world. Being a fishing nerd with only a few days to work, I wanted to learn as much about the fishery as I could from all perspectives. I learned a massive amount in four days, thanks to the locals who each shared their perspective. Like all fisheries, the Washington Salmon and Trout Fishery has its share of conflicts. Much of the eastern seaboard of Australia faces similar clashes, and I wanted knowledge about those battles to bring back with me. There were a bunch of 86


advocate and YouTuber for a technique he called ‘twitching’ – a micro-jigging technique using some brightly coloured furry tailed jigs. I can’t wait to try out some twitching here. Bill gave me a tour of the upper parts of the Chehalis River on his custom made jet boat. The first thing I’ll say is that Bill has a fishing beast. The 150 jet motor on a broad base just flies and can go over as little as 6” of water. The area we went through allowed for a mix of bank and boat fishing. When the salmon run is on, there’ll be fishers lined up. On that front, the salmon fishery is not for those that like their space. Once the fish are in the rivers get very crowded, especially on the weekends. That’s part of the reason for the design of Bills boat; he can get into places that are impossible for traditional craft and so manages to find the fish away from crowds. Locals use a variety of innovative techniques to keep their spot both on land and on the river. Having tasted the local product, I can tell you there are good reasons to stand in line. Tasmanian Salmon is tasteless by comparison. I could spend days

listening to Bill. He has that old school wisdom that seems to be lost in the modern technological world, and he’s forgotten more about fishing than I’ll ever know. Many of the techniques we use in Australia apply equally well – spoons, hardbodies, jigs and soft plastics. The trick is getting the right lure into the right part of the water column. The fish are looking for the sign of fresh water flows that will enable their passing into the spawning pools. They tend to congregate in groups as the tide recedes, allowing the switched on fisher to land a bag. From Bill’s perspective, the main conflict was with the white gillnetters who group up with as many as 30-40 boats in the town reaches during the salmon run. I spent a good hour watching the early season hopefuls in action. There’s no doubt that once the season gets into full swing, there isn’t a lot of space for a fish to make it through. The local netters offload in the centre of town, so it’s easy enough to watch the catch coming in. You can see Bill in action on YouTube on the Bill Osborn channel. DINO BLACKBURN There seems to be a connection between food and meeting people in Washington State. I met Dino by chance as we stopped off to try out razor clams, a local delicacy which rivals the giant oysters from nearby Raymond. Their razor clams are so big that when crumbed, you could mistake them for a piece of fish. We picked up the clams at a roadside diner, Dino’s Pizza and Grill, though we weren’t expecting him to be there. Dino is a Native American fisher from the Chehalis tribe. As I learned, there’s a lot of politics between tribes and the white community, so it wasn’t all that surprising when he was reluctant at times to answer a nosy Australian. Dino’s a very impressive man – as well as the diner, he works as a commercial gillnetter. In Washington State, the native tribal fishers have a 50% quota of all species, so you’d expect tensions to be high. If my stay was longer, I would’ve snagged a trip out with him. All the salmon that Dino takes go to processing facilities owned by the Quinault tribe. The produce from that plant is shipped all around the world. I found it hard to fault this, as here was an example of local employment. The tribes employ their scientists and hatcheries and take a pretty strict approach to the fishery. Lake Quinault was closed to fishing when I was there by the Quinault Tribe due to concerns over fish stocks. It’s not necessarily a popular stance, but it shows a great communal concern for the fishery.

The beautiful Chehalis River. The conflicts Dino reported were mainly with recreational fishers who took exception to his fishing when he was on the water. KEVIN MARKS I managed a trip to the Westport fish markets on the last day of the season. Had I been a day later, all the stores would have shut down for the coming winter. Rick wanted to introduce me to Dungeness crab – and if it sounds like all I did was eat, you’d be right. We went out onto the local piers where all the commercial fishers were cleaning up, to a small floating shop called Seafood Connections. Kevin was working away outside the store shovelling ice into large crates on a small barge that he used to ferry around the stock. The crates were stocked with some late season albacore and salmon, with a tub full of live Dungeness just behind. All the fish were in immaculate condition – no doubt the low 20s “summer” weather helps. I chatted to Kevin who picked up right away I was Australian. Kevin opened the store selling his father’s fish during lean times for the family farm and it’s grown into a very successful business. Kevin’s approach of selling direct off the boat means the seafood is very fresh, and I can personally attest that it’s the highest quality. There’s no way I would want to buy from the markets after trying out the Dungeness crab fresh from the boat. I’d love Kevin to pack up his floating store and bring it to our backyard, as I think he has the kind of know-how and problem solving I’d like to see more of in our commercial fishers. He hasn’t overcapitalized the retail side of things, his store is small and simple, yet stocked with anything you could want in local seafood. He also runs a tuna canning operation, which sells across the US. In terms of conflicts, Kevin considered his main concern being the tribal fishers who get an automatic quota of 50% of the Dungeness crab, a very profitable product.

CURT HOLT The last story of Washington Fishery came from Curt. Curt has worked in many areas of the fishery including for tribes, so he was incredibly knowledgeable about the data, which brought out my inner fishing nerd, and also the politics and conflicts between the groups. Curt filled in the gaps in my understanding about the role that hatcheries play. In the salmon fishery hatcheries play a very important role, where fish are spawned and reared before being released into the wild. Hatchery fish are fin clipped, so they’re easily identified in the wild. I was fascinated to discover that many of the hatchery reared fish return to the hatchery during spawning. Some still end up in the wild, and that presents a challenge in removing those fish. Curt’s view of the fishery was somewhat different to any of the groups I’d talked to before. The proportion of fish that make it back to the hatchery, for example, is pretty high, and there’s space for the recreational fishers to take more fish if they were more efficient in their methods. Curt highlighted the 80-20 rule, which I have discussed in an earlier article. I found it hilarious to hear it from the other side of the table. Curt cheekily suggested that if more recreational fishers could actually catch fish, then less of the hatchery fish would make it through. I just nodded my head. Speaking as one of the 80%, I knew any protest would be a lie. LESSONS FROM WASHINGTON Our perspectives are based on experience, how many fish we think there are and how many the other fishers are taking. I’m not going to judge or take sides – it would be the height of arrogance for me to tell them how to run things. From the numbers Curt showed me, which I have no reason to doubt, the data tells its own story. I didn’t get to look at the availability of information. How transparent

is the fishery? The second lesson I took away was the value of actually doing something with the fish commercial fishers catch. Fishers like Dino and Mark are adding value to their community and play a direct role in creating employment. Both own stores and do good things. I’d be the first to stand in line to defend them and their right to operate. There’s a difference between that and those who just sell into the wholesale market. Granted, the wholesale market also plays a role, but it doesn’t translate into the same sort of community roots unless there’s additional processing. Here I find my biggest criticism of the local inshore fisheries in Australia. There’s been little to no effort to add value to the product and the recreational sector make the point that they are willing to pay more to access those fish. The Queensland average price for most species outside of the big sellers is around $4.30 per kilo (ABARES). That is not great value. I don’t agree that getting rid of gillnetters is the answer. Mark and Dino demonstrate that it can work. Unless they’re willing to take risks and create that value, gillnetters should expect continued community pressure. The last lesson was in how dependant the salmon fishery is on human intervention. The wild fishery can’t sustain the overall fishing pressure and without intervention, fishing might be a lot more difficult. The tensions that are there could get a lot more severe with significant job losses. I can’t imagine the devastating impact on the locals, if the hatcheries could not operate for a few years. I guess it shows that we as fishers have a role in taking responsibility for our fishery collectively, no matter where we come from. I get the conflicts, but asking the government to play umpire is not the best answer in the long run. If we want sustainable fisheries, it’s us that should have the biggest say, not the

government. Those not willing to play a role in a more responsible fishery, regardless of which part of fishing they come from, should not expect their rights to be protected. They will be the last people I stand up for. FISHING AS A SPECTATOR SPORT – HOW TO BUILD AN AUDIENCE I will admit to being a sports tragic. I’m that guy that trolls Cricinfo for stats on my favourite players and follows the AFL and NRL websites in the off-season. If there’s a real sports event, preferably with online coverage – I’m there. Back in the late 2000s, I fished in the Rocky Barra Bounty, embarrassingly in the times when the fishing was pretty good. I managed three fish in two events and having climbed those stratospheric heights, decided to retire on top. You know, cash in on the post-retirement book deals and movie rights. The next year, I joined the work crew. The only opening seemed to be on the social media side, so I gave it a whirl. Having grown up with an endless stream of Channel 9 and Channel 7 commentaries, with the delusion of being the next Bill Lawry in all his hyperbolic glory, I launched into a constant stream of Facebook posts. At the time, the idea of live commentary was new for the event, so there wasn’t much to talk about. I learned as all commenters do, in the gaps, a steady stream of anecdotes and other rubbish gets you through. To my surprise, people started following and joining in, and not just fishing tragics. In that first year, more women commented than men. In fact, when I looked at the

This year I am aiming for an audience around the 100,000 mark. Last year we got to 70,000, so it’s within reach. In the spirit of sharing, here are some things that I have learned over the years. WHY BUILD AN AUDIENCE? Cutting to the chase, I built an audience because I loved doing commentary and interacting with the public. It helps get sponsors excited. I learned in my first year to engage young women directly and help them join the fun. In general, if a community has a fishing positive attitude, then it’s better for local stores and the community. Positive images in the community are vital to combat negative images put around by other groups. That’s why it’s good for sponsors to build a wider audience. If fishing is seen to be a good and healthy thing, then more people will be able to buy the products. If you wish to engage an audience for your event, you can’t just talk about the things you’re interested in. If you’re writing for a magazine where the audience is straightforward – the readers are similar to the writers with similar interests, the work in cultivating the audience has been done. Writers just need to insert juicy content to grab attention. With a fishing event, you have to cultivate an audience. When it comes down to it, people don’t all respond to the same things. Some people like me track scores, some speculate on what’s going to happen, others follow personalities, or like a good joke, and others want recognition themselves. If you’re going to take fishing to a wider audience, you can’t just ‘insert content for

It’s not just the fish that get attention. analytics, the audience was full of younger women. It was a 50/50 split. That year we reached around 24,000 people including viewers from Poland, Afghanistan, and Thailand – not places I associate with fishing. When I repeated the dose the year after, we achieved a much bigger audience. It wasn’t just a fluke. There’s a lot more interest in fishing than fishers realize.

fishers here’. You need to put yourself in the place of the audience and look at the event on the outside. Imagine you have a camera following the action. What are you going to share? There’s action, but think about what you remember from a good game of footy. Do you remember the big plays or the big stink? I watched the Giants vs. Bulldogs in the AFL last weekend and being a Giants

fan, it was the goal miss at the end – that and the fact Channel 7 interviewed nobody from the Giants after the game. Conflict and drama – the fun gets our attention. If all you focus in on is action, you’ll only cultivate a small audience that likes that sort of thing. WHAT IS YOUR SELLING POINT? The Rocky Barra Bounty has a great tradition and community focus. Two core values really help in building a wider audience. First and foremost, the event was created to promote Rockhampton as a fishing destination. Second, the data collected in the Bounty is used every year to help assess the state of the fishery and contributes to stock forecasts for the next year. These two things make it easy to connect with the community. The result of the Bounty is important. If it’s a good result, the whole community benefits. If catch rates are down as they have been the last couple of years, it means things aren’t going so well. If they are going up, it means good times are coming. A few years back there was a bunch of survey work done in the Rockhampton community relating to another issue – the health of the river. Around 80% of the community said that they associate healthy fish stocks with a healthy river. That survey included a lot of the non-fishing public – a key point not to be ignored. The community wants healthy waterways, because they know that development has degraded many waterways over the years. The fact there’s a connection between fish stocks and health of the waterway is something most fishers would see as a good thing. For this reason, competitions are increasingly important for monitoring the health of fish stocks. Here’s a desirable, community accepted selling point. Each event has its selling points, but I suspect most are focused on attracting competitors, not an audience. What attracts the audience will be different, and there’s your first challenge. COMPETITORS VERSES THE AUDIENCE I’ve had to fight many battles with the competitors in the past five years, some I’ve won, some I’ve lost spectacularly. In general, competitors are after whatever’s in their best interests. Things like not knowing the real score until the end, not knowing where they fished are things competitors like. Competitors like to be secretive. Sometimes what the competitors want isn’t in their best interests. Imagine if there was a rule of no television coverage for an AFL or NRL final after half time and no reporting of the score until the trophies are handed out. The television audience would die in an

instant. It would be suicide by hashtag. The audience wants to be part of the action – the closer to the final call, the more they want to know. Last year on the last day, our live scoreboard website was crashing all the time. We couldn’t even update it because of how many people were trying to access it. I’ve had to shell out the clams for some serious upgrades, because this year we plan for

and interviewing is not new, it wasn’t until I saw Steve in action that I realized just what can be done. I’ve a lot of work to do to match him. WHY WE BUILT AN APP Moving into a more content-driven world requires a change of thinking. You need the content and a constant feed of it to make it work. An app needs that. Last year’s Bounty was the breaking point for me. The last

possible and getting to know them is a good idea. Share those little details that keep the audience interested. LIVE COMMENTARY I’m one of the few people that I know who does live commentary for an event. I don’t have a lot of notes to compare and I don’t know that I’m even aware of my own process. I post whatever I can to provoke a response, sometimes talking about the

Kevin at Seafood Connections. a much bigger audience. I’m dead against hiding the scores, and the competitors should be as well. While, in their heads, it might give them some advantage. The reality is the fish are either there, and you get them, or you don’t. Hiding the scores won’t change a damn thing, but knowing might just make you work that much harder to get across the line. Fishing is the only sport I can think of that goes out of its way to allow competitors to hide their scores, and it suffers for it in gaining an audience. THE MOST POPULAR ANGLERS We often have a high school vision of popularity, that it’s the cool kids that people follow. It doesn’t work like that at all. The most popular anglers aren’t the ‘best’. I’m not trying to be harsh and I respect the skills of the best. I’ll happily talk them up, but the thing that makes them the best is often something that makes them less accessible to a wider audience. In my experience, the most popular fishers are the ones with personality. It doesn’t matter how that comes out. I love the grumpy, trash-posting guys as much as the bright personality. It takes all types to tell a story. You need heroes and you need villains. My favourite team in the Bounty is the Beer and Bundy Boys. They’re serious fishers who excel at not taking themselves too seriously. They have a fanatical family cheer squad. It’s like having a team of ten instead of a team of two. As a rule, shining a light on as many of your competitors as

action, sometimes posting photos. Other times it’s just posting something completely irrelevant. If I’m getting likes on posts and comments, I’m doing the right thing. WEIGH-INS The Barra Bounty doesn’t have a weigh-in. I know that weigh-ins have been a staple of fishing competitions for a long time, but as spectacles, weigh-ins just don’t cut it. They work in the Bass series in the US, but they have some high profile fishers with household names. The real purpose of most weigh-ins is to allow anglers to connect and talk postevent. There will be different views out there on how best to do that. In the professional circuit, the move to post-event interviews and media rather than an official weigh-in will become the go-to and fishing will be better for it. Sportfishing will evolve to become all about content. CONDUCTING INTERVIEWS Video is a big thing and live streaming is available to the masses. Where it was once an expensive exercise to share the video of competitors with the world, it’s much easier to do now. All you need is an iPhone and a good data plan. It’s a good idea to add a quality microphone. There’s a whole bunch of streaming services out there. Each targets a different audience, so it pays to research the one that will fit your needs. I have Steve Morgan to thank for the interviewing side of things. While I have been a podcaster for nearly ten years

day was fast paced and we had a huge number of fish reported at the last moment. The team was pushed as we had to get all the data in, end of event movie done and scoreboard finalized. We had more fish reported in the last hour than we did on the first day. There had to be a better way. If I’d known a better way would consume the next year, all my design and software engineering skills and push the finances to the limit, I might have thought twice. In the end, it was the right decision. We’ve just run our very first event with the ABT Bream Queensland Open, and overall the app performed well and delivered what we expected. Most importantly, come 1pm and rods down, we knew the scores. In this case, results were determined on the live weigh-in, but the principle was confirmed. The app delivers better content, leaves the event manager in control and saves time. The full edition of the app will be available after the Barra Bounty with some great goodies to come in the months ahead, now that we have the core done. This Barra Bounty, I decided to push the envelope and team up with the biggest YouTuber in fishing – Darcie Arahill. She’ll be fishing the event from Florida with her catches going on the scoreboard. She will be promoting the event live in the US, while fishing in the US. Hopefully, we hit our mark for viewers. Content is where it’s at. There’s a ton of innovation to come. Sportfishing can only get more exciting from here. NOVEMBER 2016


What’s New FISHING



Remora Lures are a new brand of Aussie gamefishing lures, created by Jason Olivey. He has designed the heads so that they can be customised with photos or logos. Jason has fished for marlin and tuna up and down the coast for years, and a few years ago he created the first lures in the Remora range. He made a few samples for a shop, and then the orders started coming in. “When I make the lures I start with a nice piece of timber and carve the shapes from that,” he explained. “There are secrets in lure making, like magicians’ tricks! I run different styles of heads and hook rigs to see what works best. You cut the tail to see how it swims better, use different weights and different anglers on the face until you get the result you’re after.” For more info and pics, including custom heads with photos inside them, look up Remora Lures on Facebook.



The new Hy-Braid from Zerek is a translucent braid that is visible outside the water and has a decreased visibility beneath the surface of the water. Hi-Braid is a unique hybrid hyperfill fibre line that has all the advantages of a traditional fused braided line without the disadvantages. The unique build of Hy-Braid allows for incredible casting distance and durability, and it has a longevity that is unsurpassed. Additionally, and most importantly, HyBraid is easy to tie knots with and retains excellent line strength after knot tying. Currently available in 15m and 300m spools, Zerek Hy-Braid is a truly unique braided offering unlike anything else on the market. Keep an eye out for it at your favourite tackle store, or for the latest news and pics you can like Wilson Fishing on Facebook.



ZMan 4” Turbo CrawZ are a deadly jig, ChatterBait or spinnerbait trailer, as well as a versatile soft plastic presentation in their own right. Their specially designed Turbo ClawZ thump at even the slightest rod movement or reel crank and the buoyant, 10X Tough ElaZtech material allows the claws to rise up off the bottom in a natural defensive posture that attracts fish and triggers strikes. This buoyancy also allows the Turbo CrawZ to be rigged weedless on a ChinlockZ hook and buzzed across the surface, weighted on a ChinlockZ SWS or SnakelockZ jighead for fishing heavy cover, or rigged on a HeadlockZ jighead for fishing open water. The realistic craw profile will appeal to a wide range of freshwater species, while also attracting the attention of a myriad of saltwater species, offering anglers a profile change when the bite is tough. Turbo CrawZ come in a pack of six in a range of colours. Price: SRP $9.95





Synonymous with the offshore fishing game, Williamson embarks on a new inclusion into the game fishing market, introducing the companies Soft Game Tremor. Now Williamson are looking to extend the soft vibe category into the deep blue, with their brand oversized soft plastic vibration style bait suitable for trolling for finicky pelagic species such as southern bluefin tuna. Measuring 160mm and weighing a hefty 165g, the Williamson Soft Game Tremor is created with a durable, yet pliable soft plastic body, encasing a full-wire body construction connecting the inline VMC single hooks to the tow point, giving you the confidence to fish this bait hard. Able to be trolled at up to 12knots, the Soft Game Tremor opens up a new category for blue water fisherman looking for that edge when the fishing gets tough. Available in four great colours, next time you’re heading offshore why not try something different, like the new Williamson Soft Game Tremor.


Technology combines with stylish good looks and outstanding value in the new Emeraldas MX. Designed for the Eging fisherman who wants it all, the newest reel to bare the famous Emeraldas name and styling, carries the same pedigree and performance of its predecessors to once again remain the choice of Egi enthusiasts. Available in single handle and double handle models, and loaded with innovative technologies including Real Four, Digigear II, Mag Seal, Air Rotor and ABS II, the Emeraldas MX 2508 PE has the features and performance to rival expensive hiend reels, yet comes with a price that will excite, and looks that will entice. Features include: Real Four; Zaion body and body cover; Digigear II; Mag Seal; Engine Plate; Air Rotor; ABS II; Twistbuster II; Airbail; waterproof UTD and CRBB. There are two models, the MX 2508PE and MX 2508PE-DH, both with a gear ratio of 4.8 (72cm), 6+1 BB, 7kg drag and a spool capacity of PE 0.6-190m/0.8-150m.







Japanese company Valley Hill has created a range of squid jigs called Squid Seekers, designed specifically for anglers targeting squid in deeper water. To achieve this, Valley Hill has created a clever design that incorporates a heavier, streamlined, integrated head weight which distributes more weight towards the front. This causes the jig to sink much more quickly, while still maintaining a nice, smooth action. It’s no problem to get 20-25m down to where the big squid are, and to keep your jig where you want it to be when the current is running. Squid Seeker jigs have ultra-sharp, double-barb crowns and 3D eyes, and there are currently four models in the range: 23g, 30g, 35g, and 50g. There’s also a wide range of colours, all incorporating UV for maximum visibility and attraction in deeper water.

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What’s New FISHING






Every lure fisher likes to pimp their lures, whether it be a new, innovative paint scheme or a touch of extra weight or flash for added fish-catching appeal. Atomic has answered the call, combining under one banner a range of products designed to make your lure stand out from the crowd. A toolbox for your tackle box, Trick Bitz is everything you need for every situation. Atomic’s range of eye-catching paints and UV dips now allow you to customise your hardbodies like never before, while the addition of sticky weight and holographic tape enable you to tailor the buoyancy and flash of your favourite hard bait. Your options don’t end there, with a range of powder coat paints, slide in rattles, and adhesive eyes allowing you to take your jigheads from dull and boring to bold and striking. The potential of these products is limited only by your imagination.



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The runner-up for the Best Soft Lure at the AFTA Tackle Trade Show, the Halco Madeyes 7” Paddle Prawn, is constructed with Madeye’s signature Rubber Stretch Technology. The super-stretchy compound enables the Paddle Prawn to withstand repeated strikes, making this 7” soft plastic lure ideal for species such as snapper, kingfish, amberjack and other demersal species. This new lure is the bigger brother of the 3” and 5” Paddle Prawns, and its thin, lightweight yet durable tail is buoyant and sends irresistible vibrations through the water when jigged or in a current. The legs and feelers add to the natural appeal, making the Paddle Prawn look incredibly lifelike in the water. Halco recommends pairing the 7” Paddle Prawn with a Madeye Octoskirt and Halco’s Catch Scent for maximum attraction. For more information on this and other models in the Madeyes range, head on over to the Halco website. Price: SRP $12.95






Designed from the award-winning lineage of 13 Fishing’s Concept family of reels, the A3 is everything desired in a big low profile, cranked up a few notches. Power is paramount to the new A3 design, and it all starts with the guts of this beast. Cut with Japanese Hamai precision, the new H.A.M gears are hardened brass that is substantially stronger and thicker than any other reel in its class. There’s over 30lb of fish-stopping power in the Bull Drag System, putting the brakes on the hardest fighting fish with silky smooth precision and ease. Key features include: Ocean Armor 2 Saltwater Protection Process, Dead Stop anti-reverse system, concept cork knobs and power handle, Beetle Wing rapid access side plate, Trick Shop compatible, HD aluminium frame and gear side plate; Airfoil carbon palm side plate, Arrowhead line guide system, and 1-year warranty. Price: SRP $359

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River2Sea has created a new brand of soft plastic lures called Chasebaits, and one of the most interesting models in the new series is called the Dagger Bait. Creator Grainger Mayfield got the design concept from a knife. The lure has a thicker body like the handle of a knife, and a very thin, flat, serrated tail like a knife blade. “I just looked at my prawn knife one day and thought, ‘that would make a great lure’,” he said. “It looks just like a fleeing baitfish, with a left-right darting action and a good tail whip, and it’s great for trevally and tuna.” Like all Chasebaits, the Dagger Bait is made from a very soft and supple PVC plastic for maximum action. And, in spite of how soft it feels, it’s stronger that you’d expect. There are three other models in the range – the Curly Bait (one of the only ribbed curltails on the market), Paddle Bait and Fork Bait. All have injected salt and scent, plus eyes for added attraction. Price: SRP $11.95



Storm’s range of hard and soft baits has come a long way in the previous few years. Their R.I.P series is particularly popular with barramundi and cod anglers all over the country. Now, Storm is releasing their newest product, developed for rigging their R.I.P series baits and any other large profile soft bait. The R.I.P Rigger consists of a weighted, plastic encased head with multiple tow points, featuring a large rigging screw to secure it to your plastic. Underneath swing two VMC trebles rigged on stainless, multi-strand wire. The two trebles are staggered, so anglers can pin them into the body of their preferred soft plastic. The head has two tow points. The position closest to the nose of the lure allows for more body roll and tail swing action, while the position on the top of the head allows the lure to track deeper, with a tighter body roll. Available in four different colours to suit any colour of soft plastic body.



Techniice Australia is well known for their quality iceboxes and fridge freezers. What some people may not know is that they also sell a range of well-priced, quality camping products, and one of those is the Jungle Reef double self-inflating mattress. With a 6cm PVC base and soft TPU-coated fabric upper that self inflates through a dual nozzle system, it is a comfortable and durable option for the weekend warrior or a serious camper. Weighing in at only 4.5kg, it rolls up into a compact bundle using heavy duty straps, so it only requires minimal space to pack. Starting from $59 plus shipping, the Jungle Reef double mattress also includes two inflatable pillows. For more information on this and other products in the Techniice range, check out the Techniice website. Price: from $59

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What’s New FISHING







Shimano’s Nasci FB has many features not normally seen in a reel at this price point. Its cold forged Hagane gears offer an improved mesh transition, better durability, and much greater strength. When fighting XOS fish, these reels not only have the cranking power, but will retain the smooth rotation of an unloaded reel. Features include X-Ship (bearing-supported pinion gear for maximum cranking power and torque), G-Free Body (compact with a lower centre of gravity) and Core Protect (water repellent treatment on the line roller and clutch roller). The Nasci’s body design allows one half of the side plate to sit within the opposing side plate, making water entry even harder, and additional seals have been added as well. There are four BBs and one roller bearing, and gear ratios of 5.0:1 and 6.2:1 depending on the model. The 1000 size packs 3kg of drag, the 2500 and 3000 compact size offer 9kg, and the 4000 and 5000XG compact model can handle 11kg.

Anglers who like tangling with big brawlers should check out the new Penn Slammer III. These new reels are built for heavy-duty fishing. Slammers already have a reputation for being tough, and are trusted by charter captains all over the world. The III features a new IPX6 sealed system, which keeps water out of the gear box and drag system, so these reels will stand up well to constant use. The updated Slammer drag system now uses Penn’s proprietary Dura-Drag material and 6+1 ball bearings, making it super smooth and comfortable to use. There’s eight models in the range, so regardless of what you like to do battle with, there’s options for chasing big fish across the board.




The Digital Snapper is the newest Samaki Australian shirt design. The snapper’s sleek, chromed up, metallic appearance means business! Chasing down the Samaki Boom Bait Rattle Snake, this fish is aggressive and determined, never taking his eye off the prize. In the background, a white, carbon fibre chest detail blends into deeper, darker carbon as it weaves and wraps around the body. The lightweight fabric is perfect for all outdoor elements, and is certified UPF 50+. The soft touch 100% polyester material is comfortable on the body, and has the added benefit of being breathable, keeping you cool and dry. Samaki designs are brought to you by Australian anglers who love to chase and design Australian species. Digital Snapper shirts are available in adult, youth and kids’ sizes, allowing the whole family to get in on the action. Price: SRP $59.95 (adults), $49.95 (kids)



The Jumbo Cicada, distributed in Australia by EJ Todd, is the largest profile cicada available from Japanese lure maker Tiemco. The new Jumbo features a 70mm, 13g floating body with a loud single knocker ball bearing, which creates a deep, fish-calling sound. Like its smaller brother the Soft Shell Cicada, the Jumbo Cicada has soft folding wings that give it an easy and natural walking action. This big lure is set to be a big hit with anglers targeting big bass and Murray cod. The Tiemco Jumbo Cicada is available now in eight natural colours. And there’s another new release that fans of the original Soft Shell Cicada will like – three new black patterns in the Soft Shell range, which create a great silhouette. For more information check out the EJ Todd website, or like them on Facebook. Price: SRP $28



BuzzlockZ feature a clear, 4-bladed buzz blade that creates water movement, noise and a bubble trail that attracts predators and triggers brutal strikes. They come with a ChinlockZ SWS jighead to lock your soft plastic in place and keel the presentation when retrieved. The ChinlockZ SWS is attached via a stainless steel twist lock system, enabling you to quickly and easily switch blade or hook sizes as required, or attach the BuzzlockZ blade to other lures such as metal slugs or stickbaits. BuzzlockZ are available in small, medium and large blade sizes, ranging across hook sizes from 2/0 to 8/0. The small size comes in a pack of two, and the medium and large sizes come in a pack of one. Whether it’s bass, cod and saratoga in the fresh, mangrove jack and barra in the creeks, or tailor, salmon, trevally and other pelagic species in the salt, there’s a BuzzlockZ to fire them up! Price: SRP $8.95

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The name Maikuro, from the Japanese word meaning micro, is a new series of nano graphite technology rods. These rods have a sleek, modern design with a matt black finish, white, silver and black trims, and stylish butt configurations incorporating the new Sea Guide carbon hooded reel seat. The butt design is a combination of cork and extra hard EVA, selected for the best transmission of bites. Thanks to the highly responsive graphite blanks, this series is best suited to finesse lure-casting situations. There are rods that can be used for light estuary species, freshwater fish like trout or yellowbelly, and heavier coastal and reef dwellers. There are three models, all 2-piece: MK6625SP (1.98m, 3-5kg line weight, 7-14g lure weight), MK682SP (2.02m, 6-8kg, 10-25g) and MK702SP (2.13m, 2-4kg, 3-8g). The Maikuro range also includes baitcaster, beach, jigging and offshore models. Price: approx. SRP $120



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2.5” Slim SwimZ – The new all rounder

ZMan soft plastics have proven themselves at both a tournament level and an everyday level, and they’re a favourite of many anglers. These high quality soft plastics cover the full spectrum of target species and fishing situations. One of the newer models is the 2.5” Slim SwimZ, and I was introduced to it when doing kayak field testing with Justin Wilmer from TTs (the ZMan distributors). At the start he was towelling me up in the fishing stakes, and was kind enough to pass over the lures he was using – the ZMan 2.5” Slim SwimZ, matched with a TT 1/4oz HeadlockZ Finesse 1/0 jighead. My fishing fortunes changed!

centre alignment doesn’t matter; the tail still wobbles and the lure tracks straight. The Slim SwimZ really shine when you’re targeting fish in less than 5ft of water. Large estuary flats hold an abundance of species, and the size and profile of these lures gives you an each-way bet on what species you may catch. There’s a number of retrieves you can use in this situation. The standard lift-drop will work, but I have found that it tends to take the lure too far off the bottom and out of the strike zone. The best results have come while either slowly rolling and wiggling the lure along the bottom or using a sharp, sideways whip of the rod tip while winding the reel (looking for

a reaction bite, but not moving the plastic too far from the bottom). The fun part has been the mixed bag of species I have caught. So far I have caught tailor, flathead, whiting, flounder and bream on these lures, and I’m sure this list will increase as time goes on. I haven’t yet used the Slim SwimZ in freshwater, but I can see them working well on bass, trout, redfin and golden perch. With a RRP of $10.50 for a packet of eight plastics, and 20 colours to choose from, why not grab a few packets next time you’re in your local tackle store and give them a try? For more info check out www. – Peter Jung

This colour is called suicidal rooster, and the author figured with a name like that he had to give it a try.

What sort of angler wouldn’t like catching whiting on plastics?

We caught a range of species including flathead, bream and whiting. The suppleness of the ElaZtech plastic means as soon as the Slim SwimZ hits the water, the tail starts moving hell for leather and attracting fish. The ElaZtech material is also incredibly durable; there’s every chance you could fish an entire day using one plastic. The simple design also means that that rigging the Slim SwimZ is relatively easy. I say ‘relatively’ because it takes a little bit of time to push any ElaZtech plastic onto a hook (the HeadlockZ jigheads are the best match). However, you don’t need to have the Slim SwimZ absolutely straight. A small kink or off-

TESTED: Valley

Another species coming from less than 5ft of water was this flounder, caught on the 2.5” Slim SwimZ in motor oil colour.

Hill Rocketeer Slicer – it’s a little different maximum angle while the jig sinks (keeping the tines away from structure) and provides a strong side-to-side action during the retrieve, keeping the jig in the right zone for a longer period. CONCLUSION I have been impressed with the Valley Hill jigs that I bought. I limited myself to a few of the 13 colours available and, because the squid fishing in QLD tends to be shallow water, I purchased the 3.0 sized jigs rather

WHAT’S DIFFERENT? The Rocketeer Slicer has two main differences from a standard jig. Firstly, it has a casting system that can be used to gain extra distance. It’s a simple rubber toggle that you place on your line before attaching the jig. Before casting you slip the toggle onto a prong, which comes off the tines of the jig. This elongates the jig, pointing the weight of the jig forward, so you can maximise your casting distance. I have to say that although this is a cool feature, I can’t see me using it;

Four of the author’s favorite colours. The humble squid has become a more and more popular target species throughout Australia. This popularity has provided a plethora of options for anglers when it comes to the number and quality of jigs available. I am a squid jig addict. My collection of squid jigs has grown over the years to the point where I think I could squid fish every day for six months and not use the same jig twice. I made a conscious decision that enough was enough. I didn’t need any more. That was until the AFTA show this year. I was drawn to the Dogtooth Distribution stand (the distributer of Valley Hill in Australia) by their display of squid jigs. The Valley Hill jigs caught my eye; particularly the Rocketeer Slicer, which offers something a little different from a standard jig. SCAN THE QR CODE!

A quality feed of tiger squid caught on the brown shrimp colour Rocketeer Slicer.

The author knew this squid loved the Valley Hill squid jig. It cuddled it all the way in. it casts well enough without it. The feature that excited me the most was the duel tow points on the nose of the jig. The duel tow points provide two key adjustments. Firstly, they provide a change to the angle at which the jig sinks, and

secondly, how it reacts on the retrieve. This versatility really appealed to me. IN THE FIELD Squid can be pretty dumb at times, but some days can be really tough. On those days you really hope the jig you have on may prove to be the difference from the person next to you. With the Slicer, I have to say so far, so good. I have had a few tough outings but I have still managed to bag a few when other anglers haven’t. The duel tow points are a fantastic feature. As most of my squidding has been land-based, I have used the tow point furthest from the nose. It provides

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The author is a big fan of red, foil-based jigs. Not surprising when you catch quality squid like this one. than the 3.5. They have a medium to slow sink rate, and because I use a Mustad Fastach clip it’s very easy to take advantage of the duel tow points. Retailing for around $20, the Rocketeer Slicer fit into the medium price bracket for jigs. They have good quality components and I have had a few squid like them so much that they cuddled them all the way to the shore. Go to au to check out the range and to find your nearest stockist. – Peter Jung

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What’s New FISHING TESTED: $100, Sometimes it’s hard to get a decent angle for writing a reel review. Modern reels are increasingly reliable, feature filled and resilient to the punishment that angling – especially in saltwater – can inflict. And this is to the point where even the most discerning tournament angler can fish very effectively with a $250 reel. The fact is that a $200 reel today is packed with more features than a $500 reel a decade ago. If your retirement plan included buying a heap of top end reels a decade ago and hoping they appreciate in value, you’re going to be as disappointed as the other guy who stocked up on Nokia 3310s. In that light and in the flood of new products hitting the shelves after the 2016 AFTA Trade Show, we thought it’d be a good idea to do a side-by-side comparison between a low, middle and top-end Daiwa reels to see how much difference there actually is. The models supplied by Daiwa were some of their most popular. All 2500-class light spin reels, we unboxed the $600-class 16 Certate 2508PE, the $200-class BG2500 and the sub-$100 Sweepfire 2B. We had a look at the trio on paper first. Secondly we put them to the test in the field. I don’t like writing about anything that I haven’t comprehensively used in the field – and that means more than just having a few casts down in the local waterway. The last Daiwa I reviewed – a Magsealed Zillion – didn’t get any ink until it knocked over 50 threadfin salmon and mulloway in the river over a six-month period. I’m not sure this batch did that much work, but with nearly six months of bream and bass tournaments as well as a reasonable social fishing workload, I put these reels through their paces to get in touch with the strengths and weaknesses of each. One thing I learnt from the process is the importance of gear ratios on threadline reels. I didn’t really put it all together until compiling the table in this article. You see, one of the most recent tests came at the Costa BASS Megabucks at Lake Somerset. I don’t do much tournament bass fishing anymore, but I really enjoy becoming immersed in it over an intense, two day period. That’s exactly what Megabucks is - three sessions of bass fishing for the biggest impoundment bass in Australia at the time of year when they are the fattest and most willing to bite. This year was the year of the metal spoon lure. With the typical spring absence of any noticeable thermocline, the bass ranged from



$200 and $600 Daiwa options compared 16 Certate $600

BG 2500 $200

10-70ft down and a lump of metal was the best way to get a lure in front of the fish. As it happened, a slow roll (technical for slow wind) was the best presentation for the fish that we found. And like most events, after you get dialled in, most outfits on the deck have the same lures on. By a long way, I hooked most of my fish – and all of my big fish – on the Sweepfire 2B – the cheapest reel in the bunch. You see, on a slow roll, the fish can’t tell if there’s two or ten ball bearings in the reel you’re fishing with. All that they can tell is how fast the lure is swimming. On that day, the 5.3:1 ratio of the Sweepfire (recovering 80cm of line per turn of the handle) outfished the $600 16 Certate that retrieved 8cm less line per turn at 4.8:1. The braid was the same and the leaders’ strengths and lengths were the same. Interestingly, this session highlighted the weakness of the $100 reel, and that was the lack of variance in the drag system. Around a fifth of a turn of the drag knob sent the drag from ‘way too light’ to ‘locked up’. For oyster rack fishing, this is awesome, but for nursing

Sweepfire 2B 5.3:1 80 2+0 260 2 PE1/200m Graphite Alloy No $100

BG 2500 5.6:1 84 6+1 265 4 PE1.5/200m Aluminium Alloy No $200

MATCHING RODS Reel Sweepfire 2B BG 2500 16 Certate

For the test period, the author selected some ‘fit for purpose’ spin rods from the tackle room. Rod 2-piece Daiwa Spellbinder SP702ULFS Daiwa Heartland X HL-CX601MLFS-S Nordic Stage Artist 762LX

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Sweepfire 2B $100 1

SPECIFICATIONS Reel Ratio Retrieve/turn (cm) Ball bearings and roller bearings Weight (g) Drag (kg) Capacity (m) Body material Spool material Magsealed Price (approx.)

Scan the QR code to watch the Daiwa 2016 Certate, Daiwa BG and Daiwa Sweepfire 2B review.

16 Certate 4.8:1 72 10+1 245 7 PE1/120m Zaion Alloy Yes $600


a 5lb Australian bass from the depths on a single-hook, it’s heart in mouth stuff. BACK TO THE TACKLE TABLE On the table, there is a definite difference between these reels. Pick up the Sweepfire and you’ll immediately notice a few things – the lack of an infinite anti-reverse and the lack of an anti-reverse switch, meaning you can never wind it backwards. Weight-wise, there’s not much between the Sweepfire and the BG, with the Certate only being a few grams lighter. You can definitely feel that the Certate is lighter in the hand. In the tackle store, you’ll pick a fair bit of distance between the Sweepfire and the others. The BG and Certate feel a lot closer, but you can still feel a little more resistance in the BG, whereas the Certate is buttery smooth all round, as you’d expect from a $600 reel. The unexpected result, though, is the closeness between the $200 BG and the $600 Certate. Is the Certate a better reel? Price aside, the answer is undoubtedly yes. As well as being aided by four more ball bearings, the Certate’s ‘Zaion’ body allows this reel to weigh in as the lightest of the bunch. Zaion is Daiwa’s answer to magnesium for body material. Magnesium is awesome and light, but does not like salt water at all. In Australia, lots of us like to run our reels in both salt and fresh water. A COUPLE OF TACKLE JUNKIES As part of this review, I sat down with Simon Goldsmith, Daiwa uber-fan, and we talked through the three reels. You can watch the interview by scanning the QR Code on this page. Simon’s done plenty of work for Daiwa writing copy for their catalogues and knows the intricacies of the reels. Coupled with the time I spent on the water with the tackle, we were able to come to a consensus on where we’d put our money in certain situations. This is how it went… Sweepfire: This is a very robust reel that can take a lot of the punishment that occasional anglers or kids can dish out. At under $100, it has limited elements in the drag system and there’s not much variance between too loose and too tight. That said, it caught plenty of great fish in the test period, has a fast gear ratio and didn’t show any

fatigue from being used in the salt water. It was particularly good at Forster, where a locked-up drag was a benefit and not a negative when fishing soft plastic baits in the racks. I wouldn’t use line under 6lb on it due to the lack of finesse in the drag. BG: If the Certate is at one end of the scale and the Sweepfire is at the other end, the BG is definitely closer to the Certate in performance. The $200 price tag would suggest that this should be the other way around, but ignore that. The BG can definitely handle lighter lines and a finesse angler could confidently fish down to very light lines and leaders, and lose fish through no fault of the reel. They are a little heavier and a little faster than the Certate, but they’re definitely not 1/3 of the reel for 1/3 of the price. 16 Certate: It was hard to fault the Certate. It was the lightest, the most butterysmooth and had the best drag system of all the reels we tested. It looks great and fishes just as well. It’s the slowest reel of the bunch, which would suit bream anglers perfectly in lots of situations. It’s probably not the most robust reel of the group – the all-aluminium BG may well have that title. Time will tell. CONCLUSIONS The big question, however, was if you had $600, would you buy one Certate, three BGs or six Sweepfires? Well, it depends on your situation. If it’s a reel that will get limited use or be thrashed by the kids, buy six Sweepfires, especially if you have six kids. If you’re a tournament angler that wants the most features for money, the BG is hard to go past. Lose a winning fish on a BG and you probably wouldn’t be blaming your gear. You’d spend your $600 on three BGs. But if you appreciate great gear and want to treat yourself, the 16 Certate is definitely the way to go. We couldn’t fault the reel and if you think that you’ve deserved a well-earned Christmas present, there’s no shame in leaving the Daiwa catalogue opened at the 16 Certate page. You just need to get the significant other with a disposable $600 to see it. For more information on all Daiwa reels, visit - Steve Morgan

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Upcoming Bluefin Sports Tuition Tournament There have been a few changes for this year’s Bluefin Lake Maroon Fishing Classic. The competition has been held at Maroon Dam for the past three years, however, this year, the competition is being re-branded, a new venue has been chosen, and the date has been pushed back one month. The competition is now scheduled for 9-11 December 2016 and will be held at Moogerah Dam. Bluefin Boats has once again retained the naming rights of the competition, so it will now be known as the Bluefin Sports Tuition

Fishing Classic. One advantage of renaming the event now is that it will make it easier to host the event at other locations in the future, as well as possibly hosting the event more than once a year. The 2016 Classic will be based at Camp Moogerah. There’s no need to book accommodation, as the accommodation fee is included in the fishing competition fee. You can nominate your preferred accommodation through the registration process. The site has cabin accommodation for 270, plus ample camping space.

The senior lucky door prize is the Bluefin 420 Drifter Deluxe. Picture yourself in it. Get involved. As usual, to make it easy for the angler, there’ll be a catering service and an on-site coffee van for the duration of the competition. The event will follow the same formula of the past three years. The competition is catch, photo and release. Prizes are allocated for the longest of each species that reside in the dam for both junior and senior entrants. All fishing styles are permitted, including the use of bait, which is designed to encourage

participation from novice and experienced anglers. There will be special guest presentations, live entertainment and plenty of random draws. Once again, there are magnificent prizes up for grabs. The senior lucky door prize is the 420 Bluefin Drifter Deluxe and the junior lucky door prize is the 3.0 Bluefin Catfish. To keep up to date with the prize list, and to register, visit Sports Tuition’s website which is Also,

follow Sports Tuition on Facebook where you’ll receive weekly updates of sponsor news. As always, families are encouraged to participate. You don’t have to be a tournament angler. It’s a relaxed, family-friendly, social competition for everyone. So get involved! Register your family, tell your mates. Let’s make 2016 the most successful year yet. – Bluefin Sports Tuition Fishing Classic


Over $55,000 in total prizes An impressive fish for a junior angler. Mikayla picked up this brute of a bass in the Gorge at Moogerah recently. The Bluefin Sports Tuition Fishing Classic is a great event for the whole family.





2016 8 Nov

BARRA Tour Rd 1 (Evening event)

Kinchant Dam

9 Nov

BARRA Tour Rd 2 (Evening event)

Teemburra Dam

11-12 Nov

BARRA Tour Rd 3 (Evening event)

Peter Faust

14-15 Nov

BARRA Tour Rd 4 (Evening event)

Peter Faust

Dec 2-4

ABT BREAM Grand Final

St Georges Basin

Dec 9-11

Sports Tuition Fishing Classic

Lake Moogerah

Over$55,000 Over Over Over $$$$ $55,000 $55,000 $55,000 $55,000 in total Over Over Over Over Over in total in in in total total total Thousands $55,000 prizes $55,000 $55,000 $55,000 $55,000 prizes prizes prizes prizes in total in total total in total in total in total in prizes prizes prizes prizes prizes prizes!

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Drifter Catfish Tournament

Catfish Catfish Catfish

Catfish Catfish

TWO TWO TWO LUCKY TWO LUCKY LUCKY LUCKY DRAW DRAW DRAW DRAW BOATS BOATS BOATS BOATS TO GIVE TO TO TO GIVE GIVE AWAY! GIVE AWAY! AWAY! AWAY! TWO LUCKY DRAW BOATS TO GIVE AWAY! TWO LUCKY DRAW BOATS TWO TO GIVE LUCKY AWAY! DRAW BOATS TO GIVE AWAY! TWO LUCKY DRAW BLUEFIN BOATS TO GIVE AWAY! TWO LUCKY DRAW BOATS TO GIVE AWAY! TWO LUCKY DRAW BOATS TO GIVE A TWO LUCKY DRAW BOATS TO GIVE AWAY! TWO LUCKY DRAW BOATS TO GIVE AWAY! TWO LUCKY DRAW BOATS TO GIVE AWAY! • Lucky ••Lucky Lucky • Lucky draws draws draws draws • All ••fishing •All All All • All fishing fishing fishing styles styles styles styles PHOTOS FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES ONLY, ACCESSORIES NOT INCLUDES. • Lucky draws fishing styles Venue Camp Moogerah permitted permitted permitted permitted • Lucky draws •••All ••Lucky fishing draws styles All fishing styles •Lucky draws • All fishing styles • Early Early Early •Lucky entry Early entry entry prizes entry prizes prizes prizes draws ••Lucky draws •••permitted All fishing styles • All fishing st •draws Lucky draws All fishing styles • Lucky All fishing styles • Early entry prizes permitted permitted permitted • All • fishing • All All • All fishing fishing fishing craft craft craft craft • Early entry prizes • Catch, • Early entry prizes permitted permitted •entry Fee includes cabin accommodation, camping •Catch, entry prizes permitted permitted Catch, •Early Catch, photo photo photo photo and and and and • Early entry prizes craft ••All entry prizes ••Early Early entry prizes • Early prizes ••All fishing permitted permitted permitted permitted • fishing craft All fishing craft • Catch, photo and • All fishing craft release release release • Catch, photo and release •Catch, photo and • All fishing cr •photo All fishing •permitted All fishing craft •Catch, Catch, photo All fishing craft or day and visitor access •permitted photo and ••and Catch, and craft •photo Catch, photo and • Catch, permitted release permitted release release permitted permitted permitted permitted release Lake Maroon Lake Lake Lake Maroon Maroon is approximately Maroon isisapproximately approximately is approximately 90 minutes 90 90minutes 90 minutes from minutes Brisbane from from from Brisbane Brisbane and Brisbane theand and Gold and the thethe Gold Gold Gold release release release release

• Lucky draws • Early entry prizes •Registrations Catch, photo and release Registrations Registrations Registrations through through through through

The Coast. Coast. Coast. competition The The The competition competition competition will the be based will willwill be be at based be based Camp based at atLake Camp at Camp Camp Fire, Lake Lake which Lake Fire, Fire, Fire, has which which direct which has has has direct direct direct Lake Maroon is approximately 90 minutes from Brisbane and the Gold Lake Maroon is approximately 90 Coast. minutes Lake from Maroon Brisbane is approximately and Gold 90 minutes from Brisbane and the Gold Lake Maroon is approximately 90 from Brisbane and the Gold Lake Maroon isisapproximately approximately Lake 90 Maroon minutes approximately from Brisbane 90 and minutes the Gold from Brisbane and t boat boat boat launching launching access. launching access. Early access. access. Entry Early Early Early –be Entry Senior: Entry Entry –Brisbane –minutes Senior: $30; Senior: –isCamp Senior: Junior: $30; $30; $30; Junior: $15 Junior: Junior: (Junior $15 $15 $15 (Junior must (Junior (Junior must must must Lake Maroon is 90 minutes from Brisbane and the Gold Lake Maroon approximately 90 minutes from Brisbane and the Gold Lake Maroon is boat approximately 90 minutes from and the Gold Coast. The competition will be based at Lake Fire, which has direct Coast. The competition will be based atlaunching Camp Coast. Lake The Fire, competition which has will direct based at Camp Lake Fire, which has direct Coast. The competition will be based at Camp Lake Fire, which has direct Coast. The competition will Coast. be based The competition at Camp Lake will Fire, be based which at has Camp direct Lake Fire, which be under be be 14 under be under years under 14 14 on years 14 years November years on on November on November November 14, 2015). 14, 14, 14, 2015). 2015). 2015). Coast. The competition will be based at Camp Lake Fire, which has direct Registrations through Coast. The competition will be based at Camp Lake Fire, which has direct Coast. The competition will be based at Camp Lake Fire, which has direct boat launching access. Early Entry – Senior: $30; launching Junior: access. $15 (Junior Early must Entry– –Senior: Senior:$30; $30; Junior: Junior: $15 must boatboat launching access. Early Entry $15(Junior (Junior must boat launching access. Early Entry – Senior: $30; Junior: (Junior must boat launching access. Early boat Entry launching Senior: access. $30; Early Junior: Entry $15 –(Junior (Junior Senior: must $30; Junior: $15 (J boat launching access. Entry –––Senior: $30; Junior: $15 must boat launching access. Early Entry Senior: $30; Junior: $15$15 (Junior must boat14, launching Early Entry –Early Senior: $30; Junior: $15 (Junior must be under 14 years on November 2015). be access. under 14 years on November 14, 2015). be under 14 years on November 14, 2015). under years on November 14, 2015). be under 14 years on November be under 14, 2015). years on November 14, 2015). under years on November 14, 2015). bebe under 1414 years on November 14,14 2015). be under 14be years on 14 November 14, 2015). Registrations through Registrations through Registrations Early Entry –through Senior $95; Junior $75 through Steve Wilkes Registrations through Registrations Registrations through Registrations through Registrations through (Junior must be under 14 years on December 3rd, 2016) 0403 154 510

For listings please email NOVEMBER 2016


AM OPEN QLD BRE Team Atomic Bridesmaids is no more! Perennial Moreton Bay studs Aaron Sharp and Steve Eldred have overcome the Bridesmaids’ tag that has followed them throughout QLD Open history, slamming the door on their first Open victory thanks to a final day 3kg+ bag, the only 3kg+ limit delivered throughout the entire 3-day tournament. This year, the Spotters Sunglasses QLD Open was held from the Cleveland 4x4 and Caravan Show. With huge crowds flooding the show each day, our anglers presented themselves in front of thousands of avid fishers and outdoor adventurers every day. Sitting in fifth after day one, the pair was quick to point out that you can’t win the Spotters QLD Open on day one, but you can lose it, “The extra day fishing in an event like the QLD Open really changes things,” said Sharp. “You really need to manage your spots and ideally try to build bags throughout the event, very rarely does the team that catches a big bag on day one hold through to win the tournament. If you can consistently deliver bigger bags to the scales each day, you’ll always have a chance to win”. The boys were close to that magic mark on days one and two, delivering consistent bags to the scales that had them sitting in fourth place going into the final day. Knowing they would need to present the weigh master with the biggest 5/5 fish limit of the whole tournament to have a shot at winning, the pair went to what they know best, cranking the shallow reef flats of Moreton Bay’s various islands. “The biggest key in a Spotters QLD Open or any multi-day tournament for

Atomic victory in open that matter is managing your spots,” said Sharp. The pair made use of their

just work so well in the bay. we never feel the need to try anything else.

When you have that level of confidence in a bait it’s hard to put it down,

The bronze bream of the Spotters QLD BREAM Open. vast experience on Moreton Bay and hit new spots every day on the way to their first QLD Open victory. “We’ve spent a long time learning the intricacies of Moreton Bay,” explained Eldred. “We don’t actually fish it outside of tournaments that much anymore, because as it is the islands receive a lot of angling pressure from the public. We have so much confidence in the bay we don’t feel the need to pre-fish too much, we back ourselves to figure out the exact area or technique on the day or during the event”. As is so often the case when fishing shallow flats, crankbaits and topwaters were the choice of lures. Relying on a one-two approach that often dominates Moreton Bay events, Sharp and Eldred used a combination of Atomic Crank 38s in both mid and deep depths, and also the Megabass Dog-X Jr and regular sized Dog-X to tempt kickers on the surface. “Those two lures

Bridesmaids no longer, Steve Eldred and Aaron Sharp from Team Atomic with the spoils of victory in the Spotters presented event. especially when it’s worked for the past seven years and continues to do so.” The technique wasn’t complex – it’s as simple as covering as much water as possible with each and every cast. “Fish spook easily in the bay. It’s shallow and clear and they can see you coming from a mile away – that’s where

Unitika braid and leader connected them to the winning fish, and when necessary, the pair retrofitted Gamakatsu Wide Gap treble hooks to their lures for the best hook-up and holding power. For their efforts, the pair walked away with the perpetual Spotters QLD Open trophy that

Tristan Taylor and Dave McKenzie were as consistent as ever in the open, finishing second to take home $1300 in winnings.

What’s cooler than a bunch of bass boats ready to open throttle onto a glassed-out Moreton Bay?

Weedy bottom



Rocky bottom

small things like having a lure that’s aerodynamic, thinner braid and more responsive rods all come into play,” said Sharp. The tools of the trade were the new Samurai Reaction rods, a revamp of arguably some of the most popular light spinning rods ever sold in Australia. “The new models are lighter, more sensitive and more responsive,” said Eldred.

had eluded them so many times up until this point, as well as a stack of cash to go towards a few gel coat repairs on the bottom of Sharp’s bass boat. TEAM SAMURAI REACTION SETTLE FOR SECOND Te a m Samurai Reaction’s Tristan Taylor and Dave Mckenzie are no strangers to Spotters QLD Open success. They’ve

won the title four times and been runner-up another four times in the event’s

three very consistent days on the water, without ever producing the all-important

the majority of our fish came from little drop offs out wider on the shallow

infinitely further than the small Atomic Crank 38 that they so often use, so they’re able to cover a lot more water and get the lure a lot further away from the boat. Picking up two Moreton Bay favourites in the Megabass Dog-X Jr and Megabass Dog-X, the pair would bomb long casts out over patchy weed, rubble and sand that litter the flats of all the Southern Bay’s

islands. It was the packs of bream they were looking for which would produce the most solid hook-ups, “When you had one single fish come up and look at your lure, you’d often just get them to swipe at it half-heartedly. It was when you’d get a pack of five or six fish competing for your lure that they’d hit it multiple times, and you’d almost be guaranteed



In what ended up being the closest Spotters QLD Open in the event’s history, Team Samurai Reaction fell 80g short of notching their fifth Spotters QLD Open

The competitors gathered for a quick briefing before heading off to their first spots. history. It’s no surprise to see them on the podium again in 2016. Despite facing some boat troubles on session one, which saw them having to switch boats and lose the best part of their first day on the water, the pair managed to put together

3kg ‘kicker’ limit that is often required to win in Moreton Bay. “With the tides the way they were this weekend, the fish never really had the opportunity to get right up into the super shallow water during the tournament hours, so we actually found

flats of the bay islands,” explained Mckenzie. Expressing a similar theory that the fish in these flats are on edge and easily spooked, the pair utilised a top-water approach for most of the tournament. The large sized top-water lures that they prefer cast

Aaron Sharp explains his winning tackle and technique on Facebook Live.

Anglers head out onto a glassed out Moreton Bay.

to hook one when that circumstance happened,” said Mckenzie. The colour of choice? Bright yellow of course! Big advocates of bright colours for this scenario, Team Samurai Reaction commented the bright colours like Modena bone allow you to keep track of your lure much easier, when it’s sometimes as much as 40m away from the boat. “The bright colour just stands out. It helps you to see when a fish is chasing so you can know whether you need to walk it faster or maybe stop it to draw a strike. It’s a really key ingredient to top-water fishing in Moreton Bay – I hardly ever use any other colour,” explained Taylor.

victory. The pair wanted to send a big thank you to their long-time friend and regular Spotters QLD Open angler Grayson Fong, who kindly lent them his boat after the pair had troubles with theirs on day one.

Scan the QR code to watch Steve Morgan chat to winners Steve Eldred and Aaron Sharp.






ATOMIC Aaron Sharp and Steve Eldred




SAMURAI REACTION Tristan Taylor and David McKenzie




SNIPER Luke Rogan and Tyson Hayes




PONTOON 21 Denis Metzdorf and Khoi Pham




BUSH N’BEACH/ATOMIC Anthony Wishey and Lex Irwin




GONE FISHING DAY 16TH OCTOBER Steve Morgan and Nicholle Smith




DONUT KINGS Brandon Gosbell and Shane Davison


5.78kg NOVEMBER 2016


Allwood’s all star performance CE 1ST PLA

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Terry Allwood has claimed an emphatic win on the biggest stage in the ABT BASS Pro competition, claiming the 2016 BassCat BASS Pro Grand Final with a scale-crushing 15.85kg limit. Allwood hit the weigh-in stage needing 4.89kg to win, a bag that would have rivaled all but a few on Sunday afternoon. Allwood was one of the few bringing in a massive 5.81kg limit with non-boater Mark King. He led overnight and showed no signs of the nerves that have claimed numerous names in the past. Allwood’s victory secures him an experience that money simply can’t buy – a trip to the USA where Australian Bassmaster Elite Series Pro and BassCat family member, Carl Jocumsen will have his truck and Puma FTD waiting. The pair will fish a Bassmaster Open tournament together, where Terry will rub shoulders with Elite Series Pros, local sticks and young guns looking to make it in the high stakes sport of tournament bass fishing. A local to the dam that’s arguably one of the best in Australia during the September spring bite, Allwood had a number of areas and a technique locked down before official pre-fish day. “Leading up to the event, the fish were feeding predominantly on redclaw and smaller bait, so your presentation had to match. Smaller cut-down soft plastics were definitely getting more bites in the weeks leading to the blackout. On the Friday pre-fish, I went straight to the cut-down soft plastic, but noticed the abundance of larger boney bream in the shallows. That’s when I started using larger 3-3.5” soft plastics and noticed a dramatic difference in the size of the fish I was catching,” explained Allwood. After making the successful change, Allwood scoped out the dam, eyeing off places he had previously found fish, scouting out whether other anglers had stumbled on them. Allwood relied on two main baits to accumulate the Grand Final’s winning bag limit – a 3 1/2” Atomic Plazos paddle-tail in avocado glitter, and a 3” Megabass Hazedong Shad in green chartreuse. Both lures were rigged on Atomic Seekerz jigheads in 1/4oz weight.

He delivered the tournament winning baits on a combination of Samurai’s newest and tried and trusted rod models. The new Samurai Infinite 6-12lb was Allwood’s go-to, however occasionally he’d pick up the trusty Samurai Reaction 252. His line of choice was Unitika Light Jigging PE in 10lb, matched with a 6lb Unitika Aiger III fluorocarbon leader. Day one saw Allwood start on his preferred number one spot. Other anglers had also chosen to start there,

Finch caught a good limit early, coming back to weigh in early on in the first weigh-in window. Their 4/4, 5.11kg limit had them sitting in 3rd place, behind Mark Lennox, Paul Gillespie and their respective non-boating partners. The afternoon session played out harder than Allwood was hoping for, with himself and Finch looking at a half-empty livewell midway through the session. “I’d been jumping between two main spots,

2016 BassCat BASS Pro Grand Final champion Terry Allwood with a pair of stunning BP bass. but he felt he had ample room to scope out looking for an early bag. “The courtesy shown by all anglers this weekend was arguably the best I’ve ever witnessed.” Allwood and non-boating partner Leroy

and I remember saying to Leroy that we just had to knuckle down in my go-to area and we’d get them,” The pair stayed true to the plan and ground out the afternoon’s third biggest limit, which put him in the overnight lead heading

3 1/2” Atomic Plazos paddle-tail in avocado glitter

3” Megabass Hazedong Shad in green chartreuse

into Sunday’s final session. Allwood was the picture of calm and zen on Sunday morning’s start line. No doubt the fact that this was his home water and he’d been in this position before helped him calm the nerves. “My only goal on Sunday was to enjoy the day. I said to Mark King, who was my non-boater, that I had a plan. We were going to go out and not deviate from that plan and no matter what enjoy the day, enjoy the fact we were both in contention on the final day of a Grand Final and that’s what we did.” The approach seemed to be working out when on his third cast of the morning a kilo fish graced the deck. “That first fish broke the ice, and when I knew they were going to chew I turned to Mark and said you better tie on a plastic and let’s get stuck in.” With a 4/4, 5.79kg limit in the well by 9:30am, Allwood was almost ready to retire early. “With the 500g lead I had into the final session, I knew it would take the tournament’s biggest bag to run me down, so myself and Mark really enjoyed that last few hours of the session.” Despite a valiant effort by tournament runner-up Mark Ferguson, who brought Sunday’s biggest bag to the scales, a 4/4, 5.82kg limit, it wasn’t the 6.8kg that he needed. Allwood claimed the victory and now finds himself needing a passport, as he’ll be flying stateside in 2017 to hook-up with Carl Jocumsen for the ultimate fishing road trip. Allwood thanked his sponsors, Frogleys Offshore, Tonic Eyewear, A1 Roadworthys and Allcar Bitz for their generous support throughout the years.

Ferguson’s Sabre a vision of success CE 2ND PLA New BassCat owner Mark Ferguson ensured his new boat had plenty of mojo by finishing second in the season ending BassCat BASS Pro Grand Final. His 12/12, 14.89kg limit bested in-form Mitchell Cone’s third place sack by over a kilo, and marked Ferguson down as a name to watch over the next few years. Ferguson had never been to Bjelke-Petersen Dam before, but enjoyed one of the best weekends fishing of his life. “I’ve probably never caught as many fish in a tournament as I did during the Grand Final.” Ferguson identified early on during Friday’s official pre-fish that it was going to be run and won fishing on the edge. Being a relatively shallow dam compared to others the series visits, BP

lends itself well to an edge bite, especially in the spring. Ferguson caught a number of fish throughout the day, with half a dozen over the 40cm mark. “I wasn’t too concerned about catching my full 12/12 limit, which was my main goal after qualifying for the event. I was concerned about being able to find 12 good fish.” Ferguson paid close attention to the variety of bird life of Bjelke-Petersen. “I noticed after about

half of Friday’s pre-fish that the banks that had a lot of birds around them were the banks that were holding large amounts of boney bream. From what was in the bottom of my livewell after the weekend, that was clearly what the fish were feeding on.” “I caught fish early on a Jackall Squirrel 67SP jerkbait. I’d cast it out and twitch it once or twice, so that was my go-to for early in the session.” That approach couldn’t have worked better come

Mark Ferguson charged home on the final day to finish second.

Saturday’s first session. Ferguson and non-boating partner, Orton Marchant, bagged out within the first 20 minutes. “As the sun rose I slightly adjusted where I was fishing. I moved out off the bank and continued to cast tight to the edge, because I didn’t want to miss any fish that were still up shallow. I fished all my casts right back to the boat, sometimes getting eaten almost with my leader inside the rod tip.” “I’d rotate through all three baits I had on the deck, I’d go 20 minutes with the jerkbait, then pick up the beetle spin. 20 minutes with that and I’d go to the bare plastic. I think because we were rotating through the same banks multiple times, that continual lure rotation meant I was never presenting the same lure to the fish over and over again, keeping them honest.” After weighing-in mid way through Saturday morning, the pair headed straight back out to see if they could repeat their morning’s 4/4 4.59kg effort. Sure enough, the bank that had


been so fruitful to Ferguson in session one, continued form, producing a full limit in under 20 minutes again. They produced only one upgrade after their early bag, with Ferguson throwing out a 33cm fish for a 44cm beast with only 10 minutes to go on Saturday afternoon. His 4/4 4.26kg limit was enough to have him in third overnight heading into Sunday’s morning session. Ferguson experiencied some mechanical dramas on Sunday on his run up the dam. That’s when the second of two good breaks went Ferguson’s way. “I actually didn’t manage to get to my key spot first, another boat beat me to it. I turned to my non-boater Robbie Rayner and told him I knew where we could at least fill a limit. I popped the BassCat up on plane and focused on simply catching four.” The spot Ferguson was talking about was one he’d located in pre-fish, a flat featureless bank in the main basin. The seemingly endless supply of just scoreable bass had vanished, replaced by the

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best size fish Ferguson had caught all weekend. The pair went to work and got a 4/4, 5.82kg mega bag. As it turned out, the session’s biggest bag wouldn’t be enough for him to challenge for the lead. Ferguson enjoyed his best weekend tournament fishing with a Duffrods Basstix 3-6kg rod made by long-time ABT sponsor and ABT BREAM Grand Final champion Steve Duff. On it he had an ABU Garcia Revo MGX 20 spin reels and spooled it with 8lb Berkley Fireline, topped with an 8lb leader of Sunline FC Sniper Invisible fluorocarbon. The unique colouration of the camo leader perfectly blended in with the stained water of Bjelke-Petersen and Ferguson went through the tournament without a lost fish. He thanked his sponsors of Bass ‘N’ Bream Tackle, Attack Fishing, Duffrods and Keitech Australia for their continued support, and he shared his success with his young family.

Pieschel’s rookie season ends with a bang -BOATER 1ST NON Brendan Pieschel had never really fished for bass prior to 2016, let alone thought about entering a tournament. A chance meeting with ABT angler Jason Martin led to a fishing frenzy that culminated in Pieschel enrolling to fish every round of the 2016 BassCat BASS Pro Series. “I really just came to Bjelke-Petersen hoping to end the year on the right note. I’d heard this dam fished well during the spring, so I was hoping to catch some fish, contribute to the bags and continue learning as much as I can from the boaters that I end

up paired with,” said Pieschel. Finding himself paired with Daniel Brown, who’s no stranger to success on the ABT stage, the pair enjoyed the dream start, when Brown’s first cast of Saturday morning produced a legal sized bass. “We had our limit by around 8am. Like most anglers on the water, after we had what we thought to be a competitive total for session one, we returned to the weigh-in.” The pair brought the tournament’s equal second biggest bag across the scales, and Pieschel was the man in form. The afternoon session had started the same as Saturday morning, except this time it was Pieschel to strike on the first cast. Throwing a Jackall TN60 in the everpopular brown dog pattern, Pieschel and Brown targeted main basin shallow banks, where an abundance of bait

had accumulated numbers of hungry Australian bass, which the pair took full advantage of. The arrival of a rain squall lit up the action, although the majority of fish they were converting barely measured 30cm. “It wasn’t until we moved to an area Brown had located during his Friday pre-fish that our fortunes began to turn around. I broke my personal best with a fish around the 43cm fork mark then almost unbelievably broke it a further two times, and ended up upgrading our whole bag. It was arguably the best fishing session I’ve ever had in my whole life, and one I won’t forget anytime soon.” Pieschel’s hot afternoon yielded a whopping 4/4, 5.82kg limit, which jumped the pair into second place after Saturday’s last bag crossed the stage.

Paired on Sunday with in-form angler Mitchell Cone. Pieschel contributed to the final day’s bag. With Cone weighing in the tournament’s biggest bag of 6.32kg on Saturday afternoon, they were in a good position to win. “I had to change my tack on Sunday. The Jackall TN60 I used on Saturday only produced a few fish early. I changed to a Keitech 3” Easy Shiner soft plastic and that’s when I started catching more fish.” The pair used the longer Sunday session to eventually upgraded their way to a 4/4, 4.92kg limit, which saw Pieschel with a full 12/12, 14.43kg limit, easily good enough to take top honours. Pieschel is the perfect example of the experience and knowledge there is to gain from the shared weight format ABT introduced at the beginning of the 2016 BassCat BASS Pro Series.

Pieschel was the recipient of a brand new Haswing bow mount electric motor and a

TOP 10 BOATERS Place Angler 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10


Terry Allwood 12/12 Mark Ferguson 12/12 Mitchell Cone 12/12 Paul Gillespie 12/12 David Young 12/12 Daniel Brown 12/12 Tom Slater 12/12 Stephen Kanowski 12/12 Peter Leggett 11/12 Tony Thorley 12/12

Weight (kg)

Brendan Pieschel secured the non-boater Grand Final to finish the season on a high.


15.86 Carl Jocumsen Trip of a Lifetime 14.89 Crashpad Swag, Bassman Pack 13.60 Costa Sunglasses 13.60 Spotters, Diamond Deck 13.14 Prize Pack 12.73 12.36 11.81 11.67 11.35

For full result listings, see

huge Bassman prize pack. He thanked every competitor, helper, staff and host.

Place Angler


Weight (kg)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

12/12 12/12 12/12 12/12 12/12 12/12 12/12 12/12 11/12 12/12

14.43 13.58 13.34 12.52 12.28 12.05 11.97 11.78 11.75 11.69

Brendan Pieschel Mark King William Schloss Leroy Finch David Simmons Robbie Rayner Orton Marchant Mark Mckay Paul Piper Joe Smith


Haswing Motor, Bassman Pack $300, Costa Sunglasses $200, Prize Pack Prize Pack Prize Pack

For full result listings, see NOVEMBER 2016


Keg bass at Costa BASS Megabucks s egabuck BASS M Nineteen teams rolled into Somerset Dam for the 2016 Costa BASS Megabucks. As usual with springtime events in the southeast, high hopes of record breaking bass were making all anglers eager to get on the water. South East Queensland impoundments typically fish well in early spring and Somerset did not disappointment in

that regard, competing teams cashed cheques in each session. This tournament was dominated by a technique that was almost forgotten until a few years ago. The resurgence of throwing metal slices and spoons for schooling bass has taken off over the past two years and we noticed the effectiveness of this technique during the Costa BASS Megabucks. Almost every front deck of each boat was a line-up of jigs and spoons all looking more accustomed to tailor spinning

Dave Young and Stuart France delivered over 9kg to the scales to secure the win in session two.

off the rocks than chasing Australian bass, but boy did they deliver when it came to crunch time. KANOWSKI AND SIMMONS – 8.6KG Session one began with a picturesque lake Somerset sunrise. Team Lews, made up of Craig Simmons and Steve Kanowski, made the short run from the starting line, around the corner to the deep flats known as the Spit. Fishing the dam wall side of the Spit, they positioned their boat in one of the deeper gullies that runs up onto the flat. This section acted like a highway for bass to come out of deeper water onto the flat and chase the bait schools of bony bream. Teams Lews chose a 20g Halco Twisty in silver to imitate these baitfish. On a full cast out, they let their spoon flutter all the way to the bottom before giving it a couple of hard rips. After ripping the lure up, they’d let it flutter back to the bottom again. If the slice wasn’t eaten in the first few rips, a slow constant retrieve back to the boat was used to tempt fish higher in the water column. This retrieve saw Team Lews land approximately twenty bass in total as they worked towards a solid bag.

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Craig revealed that many times over the session, they had 2kg+ fish on the deck trying to upgrade by small amounts, as a lot of the fish were almost identical in size. Spending the whole session

the bottom 4-6ft, and then allow it to fall back to bottom before commencing a slow rolling retrieve. A lot of the bigger fish came as soon as they started rolling off the bottom. Bass Brothers used

from the package without any modifications.” The team used the new Sunline V-Plus Fluorocarbon leader in 12lb after a large number of fish swallowed the lure right down. The main

Kris Hickson and Daniel Brown found their mojo in the last session to claim the $1000 winners’ cheque. in their gully on the Spit, the team weighed an impressive 8.6kg bag, a kilogram over their nearest competitor. The pair relied on EDGE First Strike and Black Widow rods, teamed with Lews reels and straight through fluorocarbon, to deliver the spoons accurately and with precision to feel the often slack line bites. YOUNG AND FRANCE – 9.06KG Team Bass Brothers, Dave Young and Stuart France weighed a respectable bag over 7kg in the first session. They headed straight back to the area of Bay 13, where they had found large schools of bass roaming the vast flats in 35-45ft of water. After failing to locate any substantial shows of fish in the first half of the session, and with no fish in the live well, they made the tough decision to leave the area. Using their Lowrance Insight Genesis Contour map, they were able to easily locate the area where creek bed ran adjacent to the deep flats section, where they had success in session one and assumed the bass had moved off the flat onto the edge of the creek bed. They positioned the boat right on the edge of the creek bed in 40ft of water, and using a variety of metal spoons or jigs, they’d make a long cast over the edge of the drop off and allow the jig to fall all the way to the bottom. Allowing the jig to fall on a slack line was key to creating a lifelike fluttering action, but required full attention to detect bites. Once on the bottom, they’d start with a couple long draws of the rod to lift the spoon off

the 14g Jackall Lizinc, and a 18g Nories Wasabi spoon, but the stand out by far was the Palms Anglers Republic Slow Blatt Cast Oval Jig in 20g with a silver metallic finish. Dave Young said, “The jig perfectly mimics a bony bream and offers a

line of choice was the recently released Sunline Super PE Light Blue in 10lb. Fished over a Dobyn’s Champion Extreme 703 and BarraBass XP902 spin rod, they were able to make super long casts and cover large areas of water searching for the active fish.

Steve Kanowski and Craig Simmons from Team Lews with their session one winning limit. much wider profile than conventional spoons currently on the market. This large oval profile in turn generates a slow fall that the big bass just couldn’t resist. Rigged from the factory with Decoy twin front assist hooks and a single assist on the rear, we could fish this lure straight

HICKSON AND BROWN – 9.5KG Team Hobie fishing/ TT Lures’ Kris Hickson and Daniel Brown recovered from a dismal session one and an average session two to compile the biggest bag of the tournament and take out the session three win.

Choosing to return to the Bay 13 area, Team Hobie/ TT chose to live and die by the area that had shown them fish on the screen, but failed to show them fish in the net and in the livewell in sessions one and two. With scattered fish showing on the sounder, the pair fan casted around with a paddletail plastic rigged on a 3/8oz TT HeadlockZ jighead to secure a couple of fish. Halfway through the session, these scattered fish began to school up in 35-40” of water. At this point, they switched to 20g and 30g Silver Halco Twisties hopped off the bottom and burned before killing the lure mid-water and allowing it to fall back through the school. “When we were searching and waiting for the fish to come past, we covered ground with long casts, but once you got them to switch on it was a short cast and a sort of slow jig retrieve that did the damage,” said Hickson. “The fish were in the area the whole time and there were several schools roaming around. You just had to be on the right ones at the right time using the technique that got them to bite.” An example of the often fickle nature of Somerset bass, with half an hour left in the session Brown and Hickson had a double hook-up on two big fish, one fish nearly pushing the magic 3kg mark. By the time the pair had landed and ultimately upgraded their four fish bag limit, the school had moved on, and they were unable to locate them again. OVERALL WINNERS Team Gamakatsu / Barra Jacks took overall honours, made up of Steve Otto and Adrian Melchior. They weighed a 12 fish limit of 21.46kg – a truly astonishing effort that would be unlikely to be matched in any Australian bass impoundment. Otto and Melchior also relied on schooling bass to fill their limits. They kept very mobile the entire tournament, dividing their time between the Spit, Bay 13 and some steep rocky banks. This constant moving allowed the boys to find plenty of active











Adrian Melchior, Steve Otto




Craig Simmons, Steve Kanowski






Dave Young, Stuart France






Matt Johnson, Shaun Falkenhagen




Michael Thompson, Mark Lennox




Peter Phelps, Mitchell Cone




Liam Fitzpatrick, Dean Thomson




Brett Hyde, Corey Goldie



Steve Muldoon, Robert Tilley



Matthew Mott, Andrew Mitchell



Kris Hickson, Daniel Brown










8 9




11 12


Mal Stewart, Jamie Johnson





Warren Carter, James Reid





Tony Thorley, Paul Gillespie



Steve Morgan, Peter Leggett



Owen McPaul, Guy Struthers



Peter Morgan, Dan Stead




15 16







John Brider, John Trigg





Mike Connolly, Chase Bursnall






schooled fish. They stuck by the plan that if they couldn’t see them schooling beneath

Steve Otto and Adrian Melchior from Team Gamakatsu/Barra Jacks dominated at the Costa BASS Megabucks claiming overall honours and a cheque in two of the three sessions.

the boat, they’d keep sounding around these areas looking for fish.

This strategy produced 20-30 fish each session. Otto and Melchior both relied

Shaun Falkenhagen and Matt Johnson from Team NeXgen Lures had a successful Somerset event, finishing 4th overall and weighing in the heaviest bass for the tournament – 3.06kg.

on a 20g Halco Twisty in silver to produce most of their fish. They modified the lure by replacing the treble with Atomic Tricksters Assist Hooks in size #1 and gold fleck colour. They felt these added some extra action and the single hooks helped with solid hook-ups. The technique first began with a long cast to cover maximum ground. Then they’d allow the lure to flutter all the way to the bottom before imparting three quick hops to lift the lure off the bottom. If the quick hops failed to get a reaction bite, they’d move to a slow wind until the lure was halfway back to the boat. At this stage, they would open the bail and freefall the lure back to the bottom before repeating the process. Adrian noted that most bites came when the lure

first fell on the free spool. Sometime they struggled to get the bail arm over as the bass was swimming away so fast with the lure in it’s mouth. While the Twisty produced a lot of fish, Otto found a Nories In the Bait tail spinner in 12g outdid the Twisty on the Sunday morning. A standard tail spinner retrieve was used, consisting of a big long hop or draw off the bottom then fall back to the bottom through the fish. They repeat this process back to the boat. Adrian used a Samurai Reaction 252 spin rod with Daiwa Steez 2502 spooled with 8lb Unitika Braid and 8lb Unitika leader. Steve used a Majorcraft Volkey spin rod with a Shimano Stradic CI14 spooled with 8lb Power pro braid and 12lb sunline leader. – Costa BASS Megabucks NOVEMBER 2016



2016 Gold Coast Flathead Classic wrap up BRISBANE

Bob Thornton

The 2016 Gold Coast Flathead Classic was, just like every other year, a monumental gathering of like-minded individuals, and the competition still remains the biggest fishing tournament in the country! This year was also a particularly big one, as the club that founded the competition, the Gold Coast Sport Fishing Club, turned 40 this year! The club’s history dates back to 1976 when

locations of their captures in pre-fish under their hats, only to be revealed at the conclusion of the competition. The conclusion of the event would see all the secrets come out, but for now, angler lips were sealed tightly. Last year the competition was won in deep water by the Whyte brothers, so many competitors had put in months to perfect this technique. It certainly seems that the technique or techniques used to win the classic on any given year proceed to become the coolest way to catch flathead for the next year!

Some absolutely stonking flathead made an appearance during the Classic. club founder Don Woodford harnessed the interest of locals keen on fishing. The sharing of knowledge to improve fishing skills is still part of the club today. The club still welcomes any angler into the club, whether you’re an old hand with a boat, or a newbie fishing from the bank. THE LEAD UP The weeks before the competition were full of rumours of some gargantuan lizards taken during pre-fishing. Even some of the Fishing Monthly boys kept

What would happen this year was anyone’s guess, and the conditions were lining up to present a bit of a challenge for anglers. Word on the street was that a few innovative anglers had put in some groundwork perfecting an exciting technique. This competition really does encourage anglers to push the boundaries of what we thought was appropriate for flathead, and completely turn consensus on its head! THE BIG DANCE The tides this year were

very different to last year, with huge tidal differences between high and low, so controlling boats was difficult. While the timing of the tides suited some, others found themselves chasing their tails until they found a tidal stage that suited their fishing style. As per each year, competitors spread themselves all up and down the Gold Coast to which ever ramp gave them the best access to their chosen haunts for the session. Kick off on 28 September saw the tide still making at 6:30am when it came time to get on the water. This suited the anglers who liked to get up onto flats and either cast or troll to find flathead up in the shallows. On a high tide, flathead are often actively hunting small baitfish, crabs, squid and other small prey. Those who were more comfortable fishing drains and gutters on a dropping tide had to wait. Of course, with any tournament, those who can catch fish under differing conditions and at different time of the day often do very well. About mid morning on the first day, some uncomfortable rain came through, forcing some to don the wet weather gear and keep fishing… or sit under a bridge and moan. The weather on day two shifted gears a bit, and so too did the fishing. Anglers were met on day two with barely a cloud in the sky, however, the wind was absolutely howling. Many anglers who would have usually fished in The Broadwater found themselves up the many rivers, creeks and channels the wind their way through the Gold Coast’s topography just to escape it. Even those trolling found controlling the boat in such wind very challenging. When day three rolled around, most anglers were probably feeling a little sleepdeprived from the nightlife of the Flathead Classic. Nevertheless, many soldiered on to complete their totals on the third day, and the fishing wasn’t nearly as tough as

The biggest lucky draw prize was a Quintrex Renegade – that’s a pretty good prize! And all competitors had to do was enter the comp for a chance to win. Photo courtesy of Gerry Nicholls. the third day weather-wise. Calmer conditions made motoring along flats, parking up on bait schools or trolling a likely bank much, much easier. At the conclusion of fishing on the third day at 2pm, competitors flocked to the Northern Pavilion to swap stories of great captures, and lament about those that got away before the all important presentations. The great thing about this competition is that there is no secrets at the end of the tournament, and competitors can cash in on the knowledge of those who

tips and tricks from those more experienced! There was also some very exciting lucky draw giveaways, which anyone could potentially win, regardless of whether they weighed in a fish or not. On the water, it wasn’t just flathead coming over the gunnels. There were many weird and wonderful by-catch measured and recorded, as any by-catch was worth 5 points! To name just a few, a 101cm mulloway and an 80cm trevally were caught by competitors, which would

lure colour was pink. The results revealed that the boys at Wilson Fishing had taken out the team event by almost 300 points! Local Franco Martinese took out the individual competition, while in the juniors, young talent Jaimee Horner took out top spot. In the female category, Katie Watsford came in first place, beating the runner up by over 400 points! The question everyone’s asking every year however, is ‘who took out longest flathead?’, and ‘how long was it?’ Unfortunately, the

Despite the windy days, the mornings that greeted anglers at the beginning of each session were beautiful.

The Flatty Classic is famous for its giveaway and lucky draw prizes. Photo courtesy of Gerry Nicholls. 100


spanked ‘em! BETWEEN FLATHEAD CAPTURES Between each session, competitors could enjoy cheap beers, like-minded company, live music and entertainment, as well as dinner each night, which was included in the entry! To really get the full Flathead Classic experience, you need to get along to these nights. It’s a great setting to mix with like-minded anglers, either celebrate or drown the sorrows of the day, and perhaps sneakily pick up some

make for some real excitement between flathead captures! AFTERMATH At the end of the competition, the secrets were out, and the stats told an interesting story! A total of 240 teams had entered the comp, with 588 individual competitors entering! A whopping 4195 flathead were caught, and just under half of them were legal. The soft plastic to hardbody ratio was an interesting half and half, with 2121 taken on softies, and 2074 eating hardbodies! Less surprisingly, the most popular

magic metre mark wasn’t quite reached, and has never been reached in the history of this competition… yet. But, Christian Ross’ 96cm crocodile is extremely impressive, and was enough for him to take out the all-important Longest Flathead title! In the juniors, 86cm did the job for Simon Sweeny. Over all, The 2016 Gold Coast Flathead Classic was a monumental success once again, and the Gold Coast Sport Fishing Club has gone all out to present a fantastic event. Bring on next year!


Wilson Fishing takes top team title trolling Wilson Fishing are no strangers to classics – with a Barra Classic under their belt and a very near win at the Cod Classic, they look to be well on their way to becoming kings of the classics!

Their tactic was to troll over shallow banks, but a lot of planning went into their trolling runs. Trolling is known for producing lots of fish, but not necessarily big fish, and their results are a good reflection of this theory. Their

teams category. “We used Zerek Tango Shads, 99% of our fish came on the Tango Shads, and they were all caught trolling,” he said. “When trolling for flathead, you’re looking for

The Wilson Fishing boys used Wilson imported tackle to trick all their flathead, and while they mostly trolled, a few came on the cast, such as this beauty. Photo courtesy of Wilson Fishing.

Franco Martinese and Chris Metcalfe from team Out 4 A Quickie!! came in first in the two-angler team category, and Franco walked away as the top scoring individual angler. Photo courtesy of Gerry Nicholls. Wilson’s Kord Luckus, Rob Payne and Scott Fleming took out the Gold Coast Flathead Classic top team with a whopping 3222 points, landing around 90 flathead for the three days of competition.

largest flathead measured 69cm, with many just legals and sub legals in the mix too. Kord Luckus took us through his thought process before the competition, and exactly what he did to win the

broken ground instead of nice clean sand. If it looks good and you’re not getting weed on your lure, you can be pretty sure you won’t land too many flathead. They really like the broken bottom. Sometimes

they’ll sit on total weed, but more often than not we’ll begin our search over the broken stuff.” Kord also stressed the need to take note of the tide – the Wilson boys worked their fishing around the tides of each day. “The next most important thing to catching flathead trolling is current flow and clean water,” he said. “They

don’t like still water, and if the water’s dirty they probably won’t be able to see the lure.” Kord also believes that trolling speed is very important when chasing flatties on the troll. “It really depends on the day – sometimes we troll quick and sometimes we troll slow,” he said. “It’s all to do with the mood of the fish. Some

people think you just throw a lure and drive forward, but there’s actually a lot more to it than that.” “We also find that adjusting the length of your line is important as well. If your lure is diving too deep and ploughing the bottom, it’s not getting that nice erratic action that flathead love.” Scott Fleming also shared To page 102

2016 Gold Coast Flathead Classic winners

m Tango Shadh5t 0m

kord luckus

Rob Payne

Scott Fleming

Champion Team overall Champion 3-person team

The Choice of Champions

• 75% of fish caug using the Tango Shad • The ultimate trolling lure for flathead

• Suspending & Floating • 15 colours

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Flathead From page 101

some interesting stories from the day, and said they had a secret lure that dug them out of the hole. “We do it every year. I get an unpainted Tango Shad and take it home to the family and we get the kids’ nail polish out,” he said. “We painted one up this year called ‘Lieutenant Dan’ – he had a black back, orange belly, which was a horrible orange, finished with a glitter stripe down the middle. It was beautiful. “He ended up dragging us out of the bottom of the pit on the second day. At the

“Chris Metcalfe [fishing partner] had to baby me through the whole comp and net my fish, which was fine because I netted all his fish last year!” Franco and Chris were trying out some new techniques Chris had been working on in the last year, and their success had created a buzz in the fishing community. “We were throwing really big soft plastics up to 9” in shallow water, mainly the Silstar Slapstix, but a few other types as well. We caught them trolling too, and we’d been working on our trolling since

everywhere in between.” “Everything is 10ft or under, and the key is to be stealthy when working in these shallow areas,” he concluded. Franco and Chris’ team Out 4 A Quickie!! finished on top in the two-person team division, and fourth overall! It will be very interesting to see what comes of these new techniques and the angler experimentation that will inevitably ensue as a result. CHRISTAIN CROSSES PATHS WITH A GIANT! The coveted Longest Flathead prize was taken out by local Christian Cross

The Wilson Fishing boys pose for a victory shot. From left: Scott Fleming, Rob Payne and Kord Luckus. Photo courtesy of Gerry Nicholls.

Here it is – the biggest flathead from the 2016 Gold Coast Flathead Classic, going 96cm – a PB for its captor, Christian Cross. Photo courtesy of Christian Cross. end of the day, no one really knows whether colour makes a big difference or not, but we’ve noticed our colour choice has affected our fishing in a big way.” “For instance, we found that the UV colours were really great with the overcast weather of the first day.” Wilson Fishing will now shift their focus to the upcoming Cod Classic, and they’re looking for redemption after last year’s near win. Hopefully, the boys can use this win as momentum going forward. No team has ever won a Flathead Classic, a Barra Classic and a Cod Classic before, so the Wilson boys are looking to create history. FISH WITH A BROKEN FOOT? EASY-PEASY MARTINESEY! Franco Martinese used some very exciting and new techniques to take out top honours in the individual category. Franco managed to amass 1784 points over the three days, with his best fish going in the mid 80s, and many fish above 70cm. Franco probably deserves an additional award for fishing the whole three days despite breaking his foot just before the comp started. “I was loading the boat and slipped and broke it, so I got on some painkillers and Red Bull and just dealt with it – clearly it was good luck!” he said. 102


last year, as it was once one of our weaknesses.” What’s interesting is how visual their fishing was, and many of the fish the guys caught were spotted before the cast was even made. “We often cruise over the before we catch them, or watch them come up behind the lure – we’ve even had them get airborne on the strike like a Spanish mackerel!” He said. “We fished from South Port to the ‘Pin, and

with his 96cm snorker. This monster flathead was also his PB, beating his previous PB by 2cm. The story of this crocodile remained true to the theory that trolling gets numbers rather than quality, and casting gets quality rather than numbers. Christian caught his 96cm flathead casting in quite shallow water. “We were inside Tipplers and we had half an hour before the end of the session, and at

Franco Martinese’s fishing partner Chris Metcalfe has lead the charge with the hot new technique of the Classic, and nailed many crocodile-class flatties in the process! Photo courtesy of Gold Coast Sportfishing Club.

this stage the tide was getting too low to troll our lures,” he said. “When we found a gutter in amongst this shallow stuff, we decided to throw some plastics and bang! “My previous PB was 94cm, so I was stoked to better that with this fish.” Christian believes his choice of lure and tackle is important, and played a large roll in this capture. “I was throwing the 3.5” Ecogear Balt in green/silver, weighted with a TT pink 3/8oz jighead,” he said. “I had that rigged on 6lb mainline and 10lb trace, which is pretty light compared to everyone else, and this fish had it deep!” Christian knew early on that the fish had swallowed it, and took his time gently coercing this slab to the boat. “We saw it had eaten it deep and chased it with the motor. Daniel [fishing partner] had a few shots with the net but missed them unfortunately, but we got it in the end, and that felt good.” Christian also measured the biggest tailor for the competition, which came in at an impressive 50cm. That would have zinged off some string on his light flathead gear! WINNERS ARE GRINNERS These names will go down in the history of The Classic, and it looks as though trolling and throwing massive soft plastics in the shallows is going to be the coolest thing since sliced bread leading into next year! A mention must go to the winner of the Longest Flathead in the junior division, Simon Sweeney. He cracked an 86cm monster, still one of the longest flathead measured for the tournament. Jamie Horner took out the individual title for the juniors with 866 points, which is 200 points more than his runner up! Katie Watsford’s impressive 1069 point total was enough to secure a win in the female category, which was enough to smash

Wilson Fishing’s Kord Luckus holds up one of many flathead that came on the troll. Photo courtesy of Wilson Fishing. her opposition by more than 400 points. The by-catch categories told a story of their own, revealing that the Goldy isn’t just a great place to catch big flathead. Tony Jewel measured a 101cm mulloway, which are becoming a more and more common catch when flathead fishing. BJ Leonard’s 80 cm trevally is almost unbelieveable… not that he hooked it, but the fact he managed to wrestle the beast in on flathead gear! Michael Thompson tangled with a 58cm estuary cod, and that dirty fight would have woken him up

and straightened out any kinks in his gear! Warren Stevens nailed a 41cm elbow-slapping whiting while he fished for flathead, which is a fantastic whiting in any waters. Finally, Andrew Mayhew would have get a shock when he first saw colour with his 39cm bream. While that metre mark hasn’t yet been cracked in the event, the absolute mass of flathead measured and released each year gives hope that we’re getting closer! Who knows… Christian’s 96cm flathead might be over a metre next year!



Scan the QR code to listen to Steve Morgan chat to the Wilson Fishing boys and Christian Cross on presentation night.

Scan the QR code to watch the Wilson Fishing boys do an hour long Q and A about their tactics at the Flathead Classic.


2016 Gold Coast Flathead Classic results table Place 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

TOP 3-PERSON TEAMS Team Wilson Fishing Lowrance Whyte Boyz Team On Strike Lizard Wizards Mad Hueys Heritage Team Sands Fishing World Fishing World -Dead Fishy Frayed Lines Blu-C Hookusup Tmnt Hardheaded Hookers Hayes Pots Lucky Strike Fishing Tackle Switchbait Bcf Foul Hookers Team Canberra Fishos

Place 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

TOP 20 2-PERSON TEAMS Team Out 4 A Quickie!! Beer & Bullshit Shagga & Son Doug Burts Tackleworld Msg The Long Ones M.A.D Cabbage Tree Point B&T All Terrain Gear Fifty Shades Of Flathead The Salty Seamen Lizard Poachers Team Madkeen Tt Lures Tough Tt’s The Jig Spitters Got The Chips Bt Austins Bundy Guzzlin Flat Smackaz Fishing Monthly Team Heavy Tackle Pig Lures

Points 3222 2968 2795 2332 2313 2147 2125 2029 1954 1789 1676 1605 1495 1476 1469 1466 1435 1434 1404

Points 2793 2507 2383 2075 1751 1464 1450 1414 1376 1288 1257 1131 1103 1075 1063 1009 990 957 950 941

TOP 100 TEAMS OVERALL Place Team Team Type Points 1 Wilson Fishing Senior 3222 2 Lowrance Whyte Boyz Senior 2968 3 Team On Strike Senior 2795 4 Out 4 A Quickie!! Senior 2793 5 Beer & Bullshit Senior 2507 6 Shagga & Son Senior 2383 7 Lizard Wizards Senior 2332 8 Mad Hueys Heritage Senior 2313 9 Team Sands Senior 2147 10 Fishing World Senior 2125 11 Doug Burts Tackleworld Msg Senior 2075 12 Fishing World -Dead Fishy Senior 2029 13 Frayed Lines Senior 1954 14 Blu-C Mixed 1789 15 The Long Ones Senior 1751 16 Hookusup Senior 1676 17 Tmnt Mixed 1605 18 Hardheaded Hookers Senior 1495 19 Hayes Pots Senior 1476 20 Lucky Strike Fishing Tackle Senior 1469 21 Switchbait Senior 1466 22 M.A.D Senior 1464 23 Cabbage Tree Point B&T Senior 1450 24 Bcf Senior 1435 25 Foul Hookers Senior 1434 26 All Terrain Gear Senior 1414 27 Team Canberra Fishos Senior 1404 28 Fifty Shades Of Flathead Senior 1376 29 Stsmarine Senior 1375 30 Team Zman Senior 1343 31 Wildfire Senior 1320 32 The Salty Seamen Senior 1288 33 Tackle World Shimano Senior 1283 34 Flatty Wranglers Senior 1281 35 Reel Jerks Senior 1278 36 Coolrunnings Mixed 1257 37 Lizard Poachers Senior 1257 38 Thlega Mixed 1238

TOP 100 TEAMS OVERALL Place Team Team Type Points 39 Soft-On’s Mixed 1237 40 The Reel Wanchors Senior 1228 41 Team Mossops Senior 1205 42 Team Cooked Goose Senior 1142 43 Team Madkeen Senior 1131 44 Doug Burt’s Tackleworld Mixed 1110 45 Tt Lures Tough Tt’s Senior 1103 46 Bush ‘N Beach Fishing Mag Senior 1087 47 The Jig Spitters Senior 1075 48 Team Spotters Senior 1073 49 Got The Chips Mixed 1063 50 Bt Austins Mixed 1009 51 Hellfish Senior 1002 Bundy Guzzlin Flat Smackaz


53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88

Dodgy Fishing Adventures Mad Dad & Abbey Wet Dreamz Fishing Monthly Team Heavy Tackle Pig Lures Simrad Wasabi Fishing Rapala Storm Flattie Fever Lizard Tuggers Im On Spotters Fishen Chups Flats Rats Homebrew Hombres Flatfish Flickers 2Deep Zerek Lures Klustafark Fishn Klub. Fish On Nutchoz Rippin And Tearin Bundaberg Marineland 1St Street First Ladies Sicilian Bernt Pork Team Viper Strike Bonza Team 2 Team Jackall And Hyde Team Last Cast Thermofishers Go Free Gnbc Super Crisp Team Brumbs Pro Softies Bundy Bears Savage Gear Greenslopes

Senior Mixed Senior Senior Senior Senior Senior Senior Senior Senior Senior Senior Senior Senior Senior Senior Senior Senior Senior Senior Mixed Senior Senior Senior Senior Senior Mixed Senior Senior Senior Senior Senior Senior Senior Senior Senior

987 984 982 957 950 941 932 921 901 874 873 858 856 851 850 849 840 838 837 834 820 805 797 795 789 786 782 781 770 765 751 751 746 724 706 704


The Wild Medic Project Fishing Team




90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100

Place 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Team Bent Rods Team Tombo Misfits The Mad Hueys Two Anchors Beeracudas Crack A Flat Swainskis Well Polished Why So Serious Fatheads

Senior Senior Senior Senior Senior Senior Senior Mixed Senior Senior Senior


692 689 685 681 679 649 648 648 643 641 625

TOP 100 SENIOR ANGLERS Team Points Franco Martinese Paul Neilsen David Whyte David Hill Blake O’loan James Mavroidis Christian Cross Ross Mccubbin Mark Grice Kord Luckus Rob Payne Murray Rogers Michael Angus Jake Neilsen Katie Watsford Matt Long

1784 1305 1286 1255 1252 1204 1197 1180 1163 1162 1140 1113 1079 1078 1069 1027




Chris Metcalfe



Daniel Cartright



John Burke



Danny Sands



Luke Rafton



Scott Fleming



Steve Ward



Stuart Grice



Mark Frendin



Greg Butterworth



Brad Austin



Julian Viselli



Andrew Griffiths



Ian Phillips



Nick Whyte



Brenden Whyte

837 822


Shaun Forrest


Chris Mitchell



George Sands



Warren Schmidt



Justin Rowe



Luke Atherden



Luke O’connor



Jason Heller

756 754


Jaco Erasmus


Nate Lapham



Adam Long



Tony Zann



Cooper Sands



Ben Job



Alex Hallam



Tim Spark



Jack Gleadhill



Chris Head



Shane Holding



Mick Stewart



Kane Barclay



Josh (Bream Bandit) Paguera



Scott Gregory



Evan Harvey



Clint Wilson



Andrew Lewis



Marcus Tickle



John Goodwin



Megan Savas



Jacob Sands



Mark Wetton



Dyllon Shulz



Jamie Pollock

597 591


Patrick Aubrey


Nathan Sheiles



George Mole



Aidan Hurry



Mathew Day



Shane Mcgrath



Geoff Carey



Bradd Graham



Stephen Wilson



Brian Holden



Nicole Sands



Anthony Fullarton



Dean Hanckel



Evan Zikos



Jan Vanderkwast



Fay Rohweder



Mick Kelly



Scott Holzenagel



Ashley Nobes



Liam Clarey



Mick Horn



Dale Giddings



Shane Gartner



Kadan Maclean



Conah Pheeney



John Rafton



Adam Barnes



Alan Young



Daniel Keller



David Green



Kane Macready



Luke Geale


Place 98 99 100

TOP 100 SENIOR ANGLERS Team Points Kevin Sands Josh Lowry Paul Cordery

485 483 482

Place 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46

TOP JUNIOR ANGLERS Team Jaimee Horner Toby Ferris Lucas Howell Simon Sweeney Rebecca Hay Jayden Hemming Abigail Mckenzie Jack Backus Jesse Hinder Max Hanckel Liam Burt Jack Burt Madeline Mckenzie Bailey Tarrant Hayden Swain Grant Sampson Emily Templar Tyne Cuttance Jai Yuen Ethan Cuttance Drayzen Allen Taj Austin Jack Bishop James Dibben Zac Marshall Cooper Ferris Broc Nickalls Rj Cooke Archer Smith Timothy Angus Adam Nickalls Lauren Sedl Alex Kern Kai Smith Oliver Meadmore Patterson Huggard Rourke Cooke Matt Kerr Broc Cooke Jett Bevacqua Ashlee Hay George Orsmand Travis Birch Aaron Murphy Rebekah Templar Hugo Burdon

Points 866 662 630 565 504 433 410 365 363 357 334 327 294 273 229 194 187 183 166 161 144 141 126 115 115 110 100 85 72 70 64 63 40 25 20 10 10 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Place 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

TOP FEMALE ANGLERS Team Katie Watsford Megan Savas Nicole Sands Fay Rohweder Tamara Gregory Tamara Edmondson Susan McNeice Nicky Burow Christine Norton Julie Morrow Tammy Braslin Montana Wilson rebecca clark Haley Bryers Larissa Thompson Melissa Butler Kylie O’sullivan Vai Johnston

Points 1069 607 551 542 362 278 267 253 248 200 181 93 74 73 55 30 10 5

LONGEST SPECIES Species Angler Length Flathead Senior Christian Cross 96cm Flathead Junior Simon Sweeney 86cm Mulloway Tony Jewel 101m Trevally Bj Leonard 80cm Estuary cod Michael Thompson 58cm Tailor Christian Cross 50cm Whiting Warren Stevens 41cm Bream Andrew Mayhew 39cm NOVEMBER 2016


THE R ECR E ATIONAL ANGLER’S LINK TWO FUTURES FOR MORETON BAY FISHERIES In the last month, I’ve seen firsthand two futures of what Moreton Bay recreational fishing could become. The first, hopefully a bright future for Moreton Bay and the surrounding communities, I saw at a kid’s fishing day run by Virginia Nundah Fishing Club on Bribie Island. As luck would have it,

fishing days ever. All the kids caught fish. For a couple it was a first. Parents and grandparents watched on and madly took photos. It was a magic day with the sun out bright and clear, a very slight breeze and barely a cloud in the sky. While the kids were catching their fish, they had all sizes of watercraft head past them out into Moreton

about kids on phones and not listening to instructions, and kids complaining about the intermittent reception where we were. Amazing what a couple of hours of saltwater therapy with friends and family can achieve. The alternate reality I glimpsed was definitely not so rosy. Queensland tourism has been slowly recovering from the hit it took 8-10

The kids had a great time at the Bribie Kids Fishing Day, Nundah.

This young angler must be proud! this was the same weekend that the new Moreton Bay Rail Link was opened, so the local area was swarming with media and politicians. As most of you would have seen, this included the hierarchy of all three levels of government. With this level of scrutiny on their doorstep, it was no surprise that no illegal netting went on that long weekend – none of the usual highly-visible netting on the public beaches. As a result, I was lucky enough to be a part of one of the best kid’s

Bay to enjoy the day. They had dolphins playing just offshore, and even skydivers landed on the beach right behind them. When we all sat down together for a sausage sizzle at lunch, there were many happy faces around the BBQ. The kids had a great fun day at the beach catching fish with their parents and grandparents. They were all making plans to go again. It was fantastic to not see a phone anywhere. It was hard to believe it was the same group I watched getting ready a few hours earlier – parents complaining

since started to turn around, but there’s definitely a shaky foundation. Media outlets have shared images of dead dugongs from the north as a result of net interactions. Moreton Bay has one of the state’s largest dugong populations, so it’s only a matter of time before the media gets a hold of similar images from Moreton Bay.

September also saw a significant spike in reports of beach raking both legally and illegally along the pristine beaches of Moreton Island National Park by residents, visitors and local business operators. Sadly, the next kid’s fishing day I was a part of was in stark contrast to the previous one. We had perfect weather

gillnets were removed from Moreton Bay. They are indiscriminately endangering our megafauna on the world stage in addition to causing localized depletion along our beaches. The constant raking of the beaches for mile after mile, day after day, could have unknown serious long term effects on

years ago with the high price of the Australian dollar. The Japanese tourist market on which we had previously relied very heavily had significantly dwindled. Subsequently, a lot of hard work then saw Queensland turn around as a priority destination for nature-based tourism – tourism businesses and towns that relied on it were slowly starting to rebuild. When UNESCO began to investigate whether or not the Great Barrier Reef was in danger, this rebuild started to weaken. Confidence has A lot of rods out – kids had a great opportunity to get into the action!

Junior anglers at Moreton Bay.



There have already been multiple dugong deaths in Moreton Bay with the cause of death undetermined. In September, we saw television coverage of a whale caught in a net in Moreton Bay that was so distressed it nearly headed under the Houghton Highway and into Hayes Inlet. The water there is so shallow that it would have been virtually impossible to get it out. The risk to iconic populations of turtles, dugongs and dolphins and migratory populations of various species of whales has become critical. Gillnets are already listed as a threatening process.

and great tides. This is normally a prime time for flathead and whiting along the beach between Cowan and Tangalooma. Unfortunately, between 31 students aged 12-18, there was one flathead, one tarwhine, two bream and four whiting caught. This was despite our team providing them with ideal bait and replacing many rigs with more suitable ones. Assisting the kids on the beach, we had a team of very experienced current competition anglers, most of whom have regional, state and/or national titles to their names. It’s way past time that

our local fisheries. Remember that most of these operators used to catch mullet in the bay. In 1991, they took over 1023t. By 2014, they were only able to get 380t. What kind of future does that predict for our Moreton Bay fisheries and indeed our international ecotourism reputation?


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BARRA COUNTRY by Brett Currie


The subscriber prize winner for September was H Morgan of Virginia, who won a Boatcatch valued at $599. All subscribers are entered in the monthly subscriber prize draws. Prize delivery takes up to 8 weeks. – QFM


GEORGE & NEV by Michael Hardy



The answers to Find the ZMan Logo for September were: 12, 16, 22, 25, 30, 42, 46, 52, 63, 66, 70, 73, 79, 84, 97, 111. – QFM The Find the ZMan logo prize winners for September were: J Bowyer of Blackall, A Svaikauskas of Alligator Creek, P Fielder of Everton Hills, B Stephan of Donnybrook, P Thompson of Murwillumbah, M Hughes of Uralla, G Hintz of Crows Nest, A Easton of Albany Creek, K Martin of Dalby, B Halberstater of Yeppoon, M Kelliher of Cranbrook, R Roots of Cowley Beach, E Bruni of Slacks Creek, C Rowe of Loganholme, M Pickham of Glen Innes, G Illman of Mt Gambier, G Flinn of Pomona, D Hutchins of Bundaberg, I McKinnon of Machans Beach, G Herring of Gympie, D Davidson of Guyra, A Bragg of Mount Isa, B Herrmann of Churchill, P McKee of Birkdale, D Kitzelmann of North Star, R Ramsay of Taylors Beach, D Cade of Rozelle, P Curteis of Bonogin, M Grice of Hope Island, B O’Connor of South Bingera, W Geaney of Beecher, A Scott of Proserpine, R Doughty of Upper Coomera, B Brown of Lota, N Humble of Rockhampton, D Leciej of Hervey Bay, A James of Burpengary, J Paul of Inverell, J White of Aspley, D Allen of Moggill. Prize delivery takes up to 8 weeks. – QFM











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Northern Junior

Getting hot at the top produces cracking catches WEIPA

Jackson Bargenquast

Winter is over. As the cold recedes the comfortable warmth of summer creeps in to welcome anglers far and wide. At least, it was like that back down in Hervey Bay. Up here in the Cape, winter temperatures are as high as the bay’s summer, and the summer up here is in a nutshell, hot ­­– very hot. Nonetheless,

The barra fishing can become insane when the water is warm, 25°C or higher. The drains along the banks of creeks and rivers can become the scenes of murder as big barra smash nervous mullet and garfish off the surface. In this situation, small to mediumsized stickbaits and poppers will get a surface strike. Remember to keep it slow, barra are not pelagics and don’t often pursue fast moving prey in dirty water.

is the tactic that most pro barra anglers insist on. If the barra aren’t in the mood or feeding on the surface, try a lure that works lower in the water column, like minnows or light vibes. If you’re not getting bites, move on and cover more ground for better results. The beaches and river mouths are a great place to test out light gear up here in the Cape. At times, huge bait balls of hardiheads and herring school up and

Fishing for golden snapper, the author’s grandfather took this nice cobia as a welcome by-catch.

The author’s uncle John with a big queenfish caught bottom bashing for reefies. warm water temperatures improve the fishing. Most predatory fish will feed constantly during warmer months.

With stickbaits, a slow ‘walk-the-dog’ is very successful, and with poppers a couple of small bloops and a pause between them

there’s literally thousands of predators gorging themselves on this protein-rich bounty. The most common of these ambassadors are queenfish,

from 30-120cm. These highspeed killing machines are great fun, performing long runs and acrobatic jumps. They’re given a bad name as a table fish, but if bled and iced straight away and eaten fresh, they’re beautiful. Queenfish taste similar to most well eating fish such as sweetlip and trout. They’re not alone, however. Many other species join the feast from cobia, trevally, mackerel, tuna, tarpon and even the odd barra. While many kinds of lures will work, the best are small pale coloured soft plastics and metal slugs.

The reef can go off at this time of year and landing monster fish is a common occurrence. Recently, my grandparents and uncle John have come up here for a holiday. They’ve had a great time dropping live whiting down onto the reef and pulling up big pelagics and bottom dwellers. Grandad landed a 35lb cobia, a 70cm golden snapper and a handful of nice reefies. John, who always wanted to catch a golden snapper, got his dream fish plus a nice coral trout, a couple of big cobia and a 110cm queenie. They agreed the fishing here

is sensational. There was only one problem – vicious bull sharks. The grey taxman of the ocean scoffed most of our catches before they had a chance to reach the boat, which is becoming a major problem everywhere. So whether you’re barra fishing up the creeks, casting slugs into bait balls or dropping baits down onto offshore reefs. The action should heat up. That’s a general rule in most tropical places around the world. Here in Weipa, it’s only going to get better. Good luck and never forget to think like a fish.


Honda launches new portable BF4, 5 and 6 After the upgrade of the world famous BF2.3, Honda Marine continues to strengthen its line-up of portable engines with the exciting launch of three new portable outboards: the BF4 (4hp), BF5 (5hp) and BF6 (6hp).

comfortable to operate and will now go for longer! The BF4, BF5 and BF6 are now lighter than ever (starting from a low 27kg), and their lightweight nature and new carrying handle design enables the user to easily transport and store

whatever temperature the engine may be. And if you’re sick of getting a numb or tingly arm while out on the water from the harsh vibrations resonating from your engine, we’ve got a solution! Honda have specially developed new rubber engine mounts that are integrated into the outboard to absorb practically all vibrations across the rpm range, delivering superior comfort to the operator. This means that you can travel for longer and go further in complete comfort. All three new engines are equipped with a one-touch engine stop switch for convenience, making it safer

reach your destination. Each engine has an integrated large capacity fuel tank built in, hidden away under the cowl. This additional 1.5L of fuel gives the operator longer continuous running time – the longest running time available in their class – with up to 43 minutes at wide open throttle. Additionally, the BF5 and BF6 can be connected to an additional external fuel tank for those longer journeys. These three engines share the same 1-cylinder, 127cc engine block and benefit from Honda’s industry-leading expertise in

A modern, sleek design makes this incredibly efficient little machine all the more appealing to boaties looking to power small tenders. These little beauties are packed with the very latest in Honda’s technologies. The BF4, BF5 and BF6 range has been developed specifically to fill a boating niche, and the best thing about this range is that they are incredibly portable, easy to start, and more 108


away the engines. The tiller handle can be fully folded to make the unit even more compact, making storage even more convenient. The three engines are equipped with Honda’s decompression mechanism. This makes starting the engines a breeze at

Steve managed to get the small tender onto the plane with the BF4. in emergency situations and also making it much easier to turn off the engine when you

four-stroke technologies. To protect the outboards, the BF4, BF5 and BF6 also

Editor Steve Morgan enjoyed cutting some hoops out on the Gold Coast Broadwater with the BF4. feature an oil alert system, which will automatically limit the engine’s rpm in case of an oil pressure drop. The new models are available in short shaft (15”/38cm) and long shaft (20”/51cm). Honda has been designing and building outboards for over 50 years, and has only ever produced 4-stroke engines with clean emissions. Honda’s range now consists of 21 4-stroke engines, ranging from 2.3hp up to 250hp. In addition to all of this, Honda Marine Australia backs all of their outboards with an industry-leading,

seven-year domestic warranty and three-year commercial warranty. To find your local Honda Marine dealer or to check out the engine specifications, go to marine. and follow the links. – Honda Marine

Scan the QR code to see the launch of the new 4,5 and 6hp outboards

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Logo and page number, fill in the entry form and go in the draw to win! The first 40 correct entries drawn at the end of the month will win a packet of 2.5” Slim Swimz All entries will go into the major prize draw. (Drawn November 30, 2016)







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Boater buddies BRISBANE

The Sheik of the Creek

There’s something I quite like about one of the other Dudds having to buy a boat. It means I can have all of the fun, and none of the responsibility – a bit like being my Uncle Fred, who could rock up to our place out west when I was a kid with a wheat bag full of lollies to share among seven kids, then disappear into a cloud of dust heading for the front gate fifteen minutes later. I could never understand why he was laughing at Mum and Dad as he head out, not that I wanted to understand then. I was too busy feeling like Mossman Sugar Mill was falling on me and heading for the sticks to avoid my siblings, who were also in a sugar frenzy. The dog went under the tankstand and stayed there for two days. Like Stuffer and Pommers, my boats are generally very much restricted by cost. Stuffer is short of coin, there’s no doubt about that. Kids will do that. But Pommers, unrestricted by the costs of health care,

nappies and sedatives has enough in his ashtray to run Queensland Health for a couple of months. Despite that, their boat has been the same one for a decade or so. Stuffer keeps trying to come up with plans to get Pommers to commit more on his own, but Pommers is tighter than a mullet’s bum when it comes to the boat, so Stuffer has to make do with a workman’s boat. It gets the job done. Doughers couldn’t care less about boats. They’re just floating things to transport ice-filled chillybins across wet things. The transport thing is negotiable, so is the floating thing as long as the chillybin stays accessible. Skipper has stuck with his boat despite its size and construction. He generally fishes on his own, so why he bought a tinny that shows up on Google Maps is beyond me. It’s drier for you if you get towed, Phantom-like, on a rope behind this random collection of aluminium. I think Weipa had to put in a couple of extra weeks over Christmas last year to produce enough metal. My boat, as mentioned, is pretty much a collection of things I’ve made and

installed myself to save funds for reels that don’t wind, rods with broken tips and lures that swim beautifully top in the above ground pool, as long as they don’t get caught on the floating dead mickey birds, and when it’s actually clear enough to see into more than 30ml. These

bits of plastic and metal have never been known to distract even the hungriest of fish in any stretch of water between Newell Beach and Bollon, let along catch one. Boobies does things properly. When he’s going to buy a boat, he buys it properly. When I put restrictions in

place (hulls made after 2014, four stroke, under $1000) I get two hits, both in Logan, which turn out to be hidden behind houses with taped up windows and sold by very thin nervous people with eyes like a pelicans. Boobies gets a few hundred with his filters, and

that gives me the chance to sit down and draw up a nice little list for him to peruse at his leisure – gleaming hulls and four strokes with less than 5000 hours, proper sounders. Best of all, the owners answer the phone first time, and meet you in daylight without pig dogs in their trays – bonus.



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boats & kayaks

In the skipper’s seat 116 Kayak hotspot Inside story...

Rob Gaden takes us to the lovely hidden gem of the Gold Coast hinterland, Hinze Dam.

Sea Jay Aluminium Boats has been family owned and operated for over 25 years, and the name has become renowned for strength, quality workmanship and customization

118 Crabby kayaking

Whether it’s from the Sea Jay range or the Plate Xtreme range, Sea Jay will provide you with a model to suit your boating needs.

120 What to do when your boat stops

Made for...

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

This month...

Steve Morgan gives Sea Jay’s 4.58 Stealth a good work out in SEQ’s Somerset Dam.

Justin Willmer gives some great tips for getting a feed of crabs with the yaks.

When your boat stops, it’s handy to have a bit of knowledge before you try to fix it. Wayne Kampe has that knowledge.

110 Streaker Navigator 6100 with 135 Mercury Cruise Craft has revamped the Streaker range, and Steve Morgan decided to put one of their models to the test.



In Hinze-sight, it’s a good dam FMG


Hinze Dam is by no means a secret location. It has a long and decorated history of being known as a fantastic fishery, full of Aussie natives that are, on most occasions, more than willing to do their part and put a bend in a keen angler’s rod.

or manually powered craft are permitted, but don’t offer you the access that a kayak can. Stealth can be a mighty weapon when sneaking through a bay looking for your next opportunity to cast. The surface area of the dam is around 3,700 acres, plenty of it wide open space, which can leave it susceptible to wind and cause some chop. This is only a problem if you

‘Simulate’ mode – but that’s a story for another time… Since relocating to sunny Queensland around six months ago, I’ve been able to reacquaint myself with Hinze. On pulling up to the western boat ramp for the first time in some 20 years, the first thing I asked myself was, “Why have I left it so long to return?” It had more water than I remembered, but from a

suspending jerkbait that would dive to around 3.5m. Both afforded me the opportunity to tempt fish by keeping it in their face longer and alleviate any potential case of the dreaded lockjaw. Spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits or any number of mid-deep diving trolling lures will also do the trick. In the end, I discovered the fish weren’t anywhere near as fussy as they were hungry and angry! TACTICS While I’ve spent countless hours chasing bass from kayaks, most of that time was spent in skinny, fast flowing rivers and creeks, so I wasn’t exactly sure how or where I’d start. The entire length of Hinze Dam has a variety of options, so I focussed my attention on a few of the smaller, sheltered bays. I figured I’d start by fishing the shallower edges, then move to deeper water as the sun rose higher in the sky. I’ve had 2 trips in kayaks now, once in the Aquayak and once in a Hobie Pro Angler. The smaller, lighter Aquayak was easier to manoeuvre around the wooded areas but

Make sure your gear has enough backbone to pull a rampaging bass out of this timber. if you don’t have one, focus on what you can see: timber bays, flooded points and submerged vegetation. And like all fishing spots, if they’re

Taylor McKinney-Smith with a solid model Hinze Dam bass from amongst the standing timber. Photo courtesy of Taylor McKinney-Smith. Australian bass to over 50cm, saratoga, golden perch, eel-tail catfish, Mary River cod all call this stunning dam home. While the numbers of bass make them the main target here, be sure to keep your polarized sunnies on and eyes peeled for a shot at a toga in the ‘hood, looking for a fight. Originally constructed in 1976, Hinze Dam has had two further size upgrades – the first in 1989, and then again in 2011, to provide more water security for the Gold Coast below. As fishers, we’d like to think the dam was built purely for our own enjoyment. Alas, it’s actually a water supply to thousands of people. This is where it becomes such a fantastic option for kayak fishos – there are no powerboats allowed! Electric

want to cross the dam on a blustery day. Even if the wind does get up, there are plenty of areas to find some still water within a short paddle of the access points. The ramps have ample parking, toilets, picnic shelters and plenty of room to manoeuvre at the water’s edge to make launching and retrieving easy. Even if you don’t fish, this is just an awesome place for a paddle. RETURN OF THE JEDI I first fished the dam with my Dad as a kid in the mid 90s. We spent a single weekend there and despite how long ago it was, I still remember the size of some of the fish that came aboard our big yellow Australis canoe, ‘Goodoo-Canoe’. We also spent half a day with our shiny new Humminbird sounder on

Hinze is a beautiful dam holding some cracking bass. 116


fishing perspective, not much had changed. There was still an abundance of standing timber, grassy edges, steep drop-offs and any number of points where you might expect to find your quarry for the day, no matter how you want to target them. GEAR I took my two (current) favourite rods with me on an Aquayak kayak we were testing out – an Edge Rods Black Widow DSR-6100 spin with a Daiwa Emeraldas MX reel and a First Strike 633 baitcaster with a Shimano Core 50mg. Both rods are incredibly light to cast with all day, and combined with the big drags on the reels, have enough backbone to pull a rampaging Hinze bass out of the timber, or at least most of the time. Both were loaded with 10lb braid and 10lb fluorocarbon leader. Don’t be afraid to beef both up to 15-16lb if you plan on fishing in close quarters. You may well need it. LURES Being a confessed and unashamed lure-aholic, it would come as no surprise to any of you that I had more lures on board than some tackle shops, just in case I couldn’t work out the bite. The first offerings were an OSP iWaver – a slow sinking jointed stickbait that allows you to fish the entire water column and offers some spectacular visual takes. On the other rod was a

Brett Habener with a beautiful Hinze saratoga. Photo courtesy of Brett Habener. the Mirage Drive of the Hobie meant I could cover a lot of ground quickly and even stand up to fish. Hinze is one spot where it pays to have a quality sounder on your kayak but

not biting in one location, then just keep moving. RESULT I’ve got a new favourite fishery, and I still haven’t wiped the smile off my face from the thrill of finding some

very healthy bass. While they weren’t the longest bass I’ve caught, several fish in the low-mid 40cm were accounted for – all in very healthy condition with bronzed skin and fat bellies. I even managed to locate, hook and swiftly drop a saratoga, which has me salivating for the next opportunity. CONCLUSION Hinze Dam is a beauty. Even just standing at the ramp, anyone would find it hard to argue with that. It’s just seems too special to have been made by men in bright orange shirts, short shorts and hard hats in the 70s. Grab a kayak, a mate with a kayak to take all your glory photos for Facebook or Instagram, and head out to Hinze for the day. Gates open at 5.30am and close at 6.30pm. Get there early for the best results and on your way out, stop at the café at the dam wall for some of the best hot chips and gravy you’re likely to encounter.

The ramps have ample parking, toilets, picnic shelters and plenty of room to manoeuvre.

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Kamikaze kayak crabbing BRISBANE

Justin Willmer Find me on Facebook at Yaks On

Last year I wrote about chasing crabs and crayfish from the kayak. There’s no doubt that the kayak is an ideal vessel for chasing crustaceans. You can launch anywhere, travel across shallow areas to

left behind. Best of all, my crab pots would be out of sight of the share croppers, maximising my chances of catching a feed. It’s a good feeling to locate a crab hole in the shallow water, or key structure such as a drain or complex mangrove root system. You set your pot and return on the next high tide to find a big crab has taken the bait. Before

size and bag limits, along with the tides, ensuring you have enough water to access where you want to set your traps and also enough water on the following tide to check them. When crabbing from the kayak, I tend to strip it back to the bare minimum and keep the decks of the kayak clear to minimise snagging on tree branches and roots. With the manoeuvring between

Ronny checking and rebaiting the pots with fish frames.

Male crabs have a narrow carapace flap. get to deeper sections of creeks, even portaging if necessary. You can get up in amongst the structure that often houses these tasty critters, including weed beds, standing timber and mangroves. After a couple of recent experiences with ‘share cropping’ – people checking my crab pots for me – I decided it was time to go kamikaze! The first time I punched the nose of a kayak through the mangroves and slid under mangrove forest canopy, it was like entering another world. There were some negatives including bugs, a maze of roots and branches to navigate, and everything attached to the kayak getting caught on the mass of structure. I entered the home of crabs – an environment rich with wildlife, peaceful and calm as the trees diffused the wind and wave action from the main body of water I’d


kayak in place or hook a crab pot rope that’s hard to reach. A grab anchor is another handy item to hold you in place while you set your pots, rebait, or handle a crab you’ve caught. A grab anchor can consist of a basic

ready-to-go baits in a plastic container with a clip on lid. This keeps everything neat and tidy, minimises the blood and guts through the kayak and allows you to quickly locate, access and attach a bait as required. Popular crab

Pots in more open water are highly visible and can be victims of share cropping.

Caution is required when handling mud crabs – a wet rag and timber fish donger are handy accessories to have on board. you enter the mangrove world though, there’s a couple key things to consider, including local rules and regulations relating to legal apparatus,

Drains like this are extremely productive and make for easy entry points into the mangroves. 118

minimal fouling. Manoeuvring the kayak through the mangrove forest, the standard kayak paddle can be cumbersome and I’ll often stow it and pull out the Backwater Paddle Company Assault Hand Paddle. This paddle can be operated one handed, floats and features teeth on the tip of the front edge for pushing off objects, and a hook on the back for pulling the kayak from branch to branch. You can hold the

branches that required, I leave the larger kayak and pedal kayak at home, opting for a 10-11ft kayak that is light and easy to handle. A sit in allows you to keep everything inside the hull, out of the way, and protects you from the environment. Many also prefer the simplicity of a sit on top. Whether crabbing the salt or chasing crays in the fresh, your traps can be stored on the front of the kayak or in the well behind you when travelling. I secure them with an octopus strap to ensure they don’t slide off the kayak when paddling faster, especially in choppy conditions. I generally opt to carry them on the front of the kayak where I can keep an eye on them and see to navigate through the mangroves with

builder’s clamp with a length of venetian blind cord fixed to the clamp at one end and kayak at the other. This allows you to quickly and easily clamp onto a branch, preventing the kayak from drifting with the wind or water movement, especially when dealing with a cranky crab. Have your baits ready to go on bait clips. I store these

baits include whole or half mullet and fish frames from a previous catch. When baiting your pots, clip the bait into the bottom centre of the pot, as I have seen many pots in shallow water with crabs sitting on top having a good old feed through the top of the crab pot. Other accessories worth carrying include a crab

Ronny getting his kamikaze on as he readies to enter the mangroves.

measure designed to measure your target species, a rag that you can wet and throw over a crab to settle them, and a basic first aid kit in a dry bag just in case. You’ll also need somewhere to store your catch, such as a bucket with lid, hessian bag or icebox in your rear well. Handling sand crabs (blue swimmer crabs), other smaller crabs and crayfish can be relatively safe, however when it comes to a big, powerful mud crab, it’s safety first. Some paddlers prefer to paddle to the closest shore to handle crabs, however it’s important to remember to shake any undersize or female crabs (in some states) out of the kayak before transporting the pot anywhere. After years of handling crabs, I use a wet rag and a timber fish donger to restrain

sleeve shirt, long quick dry pants and dive booties. I’ve found the prime times to crab are the warmer months of the year, especially around the full and new moon. Aim to leave your pots in on the overnight high tide, as this tide is

The female mud crab is easily identified by the wider flap underneath her body.

A simple grab anchor makes holding position easier. the crab so that I can get a secure grip on it. Positioning your thumb at the base of one flipper where it joins the body and your pointer or middle finger at the base of the other flipper allows you to firmly grip and control the crab ready to stow.

It’s worth watching a few videos and learning to tie your mud crabs, as it makes them easier and safer to handle, even if it’s just prior to putting them in the freezer to put them to sleep, and then handling them in and out of the cooking pot. In terms of where to place

your pots, it’s worth exploring a little to find drains. Drains are the number one structure that I crab and now instead of dropping my pots in the mouths of these drains, I paddle into these drains and deeper into the mangroves. In fact, the tail end of these drains and smaller channels that run off the main drain often produce the best crabs and this structure is well out of the reach of boat anglers. These drains act as highways that crabs will use to travel along, especially throughout lower stages of the tide. When crabbing drains, toadfish and other bait fish can destroy your baits and if you find this occurring, switch from bait clips to mesh bait bags, with the bait clip used to close them and clip them in. If there’s a lack of drains running into the mangroves, look for crab holes, complex root systems, lay down timber and depressions or deeper sections amongst the mangroves. Often the water is not much deeper than the pot that you’re dropping, allowing you to keep an eye out for crab holes as you move through the

mangroves. These often look like oval shaped, crab-sized holes that extend into the bottom or bank. If there are signs of activity around the entry to the

keep track of where you are. Don’t venture too far into the mangrove forest if you feel you could become disorientated and lost. A GPS can be a handy accessory, especially exploring a large expanse of mangroves – track your position and mark

Success! It looks like there’s somebody home in this pot. definitely the most productive. I throw my crab floats up into the mangrove trees a little when setting my pots, firstly so it’s easier to see the

where you set your pots. Next time you’re out on the water chasing a crab or dropping a couple pots on a multi-day fishing adventure,

The author with a mud crab from inside the mangroves. hole, such as crushed shell grit, claw and leg marks, or freshly dug out mud, there’s a good chance you’re on a winner. Remember your bug spray and a mesh head net to protect yourself from sand flies and mosquitoes. I also wear a long

float and rope when looking for my pots, and secondly so that when the tide drops my float doesn’t drift under the branches and roots, or become lodged and make it difficult to locate on return. It’s also important to

point the nose of that kayak at the mangroves and get your kamikaze on. Punch through the edge of the mangrove mass and take a look inside the hidden world that the mud crab calls home. See you on the water.



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There’s some power in those claws – handle with care.


10mm Top and 12mm bottom galv rings, chaff rope top and bottom, bait bag and black net. NOVEMBER 2016



Know the basic boating triage BRISBANE

Wayne Kampe

CHAMPION 198 Location: NSW

$36,000 SKEETER SX180 Location: QLD

I’m no marine mechanic, but I’m a boat owner who has seen some of the things that can spoil a day on the water. It’s something nearly every boat owner experiences sometime. The boat is humming along quite well and then suddenly, there’s no sound from the engine, or it revs really high and the craft isn’t moving. It’s running rough and can’t seem to snap out of it. None of these scenarios are what boaters want, but things happen. A few thoughts on the topic won’t go astray. Most small craft are outboard powered, so we’ll stick primarily with these engines. Remember, this is about trouble shooting first – if a total engine failure

Clips on fuel hoses can work loose and are a common cause of engine stoppage. for a few seconds, and then refuses to start, fuel issues should be a primary suspect. Take a look at the fuel tank and see if the breather on

service station, after which the cap is given some serious tightening to prevent nasty petrol smells escaping in the car. I’ve done this myself.

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$38,000 Like us on facebook for automatic updates 120


VMR membership is an important part of boat ownership. When all else fails, a tow home is far better than sitting in the sun with the fun quickly departing from the day. occurs, there’s not much to do except organize a tow home. Membership with the Volunteer Marine Rescue is a great safeguard, as this facility not only assists with breakdowns but can help with tows off sand banks and many other marine issues. FUEL SUPPLY With smaller engines hooked up to a tote tank of fuel, we could rightly regard fuel supply problems as a prime suspect for many stoppages. I once saw the in-tank pick up pipe that sucks fuel from the tank and up to the main fuel line connections fall off the metal fitting into the bottom of the tank, on a brand new fuel tank. This meant that the engine would start when fuel was slopping around in the near full tank and run for a few seconds before stopping again. It was frustrating and took time to find – an extremely rare occurrence. If the boat suddenly stops after running a bit ragged

the cap has been opened or if the cap has been loosened a turn from when the tank was last filled. Boaters often remove their fuel tank from the boat and fill it at the local

Another fuel issue comes from the click-on connection between the fuel line and tank coming undone, which they sometimes do. This can be rectified. A couple

pumps on the fuel primer bulb will often get things moving again. All fuel line connections that are accessible are also worth scrutinising. Cheap factory clips can come loose, connections come asunder, the primer bulb can split (a band-aid will fix it) and all these situations can let air into the fuel line to interfere with engine suction. If a dodgy clip is diagnosed, sometimes merely cutting off a small bit of fuel line and reconnecting a tighter section via the clip will keep things going well enough to get home. Be advised before powering off, once a fuel issue is solved and the engine fires up, a fuel injected engine should be given time to idle for a while until it’s running smoothly. Full fuel flow needs to be resumed or the engine will struggle to run evenly under load, simply because the engine computer needs to be satisfied that all’s well, including fuel flow. An older style two-stroke won’t suffer from this short delay – with fuel in the cylinders it’s ready and willing to go.

The isolator switch is one item that can get up to mischief. Replacing it every couple of years is a smart move.

ELECTRICAL ISSUES Outboard engines come with emergency cut out switches – the kill switch. It’s important to ensure that the switch is engaged correctly on the tiller arm, or up near the forward controls where these are installed, otherwise the engine will never start whether it’s a key start or pull start model. If a pull start engine won’t fire up after apparently running well, and fuel tank cap or lines are eliminated as the problem, I’d be casting hard looks at that kill switch. The trouble is, without some electrical knowledge, not much can be done on the water, apart from disconnecting and reconnecting the switch into it’s clip, to try to overcome or bypass a possibly bad electrical contact. Incidentally, the latter tactic is worth trying. Electrical issues can occur in both small and large engines. One of the most common is a total battery failure. Any boat battery can fail after a few years of sitting in a boat, so it’s wise to have the battery load tested from time to time to assess its health. Even a good battery can drop it’s bundle. A canny boat owner will be grateful for the alternative pull start system the engine has, or will have read the

a brush with a sand bank or two recently, or contact with stumps up the top of that lovely dam where the bass and goldens were on the boil. Suddenly the engine is revving quite well, but the boat isn’t moving forward. Outboard engines have a rubber bush in the propeller to avoid hard jarring when gears are engaged, and to act as a primary shock absorber for the gearbox when hard objects are hit. This rubber bushing can totally chew out over time or with sustained impacts. The result will be a total loss of propulsion under hard power, but sometimes a very gentle application of throttle can get the boat moving again. It depends on how badly the bushing is damaged. If all propulsion is lost, it’s time for a tow. HOT STUFF Your outboard might have overheating problems. While these incidents can occur as the result of water pump impeller failure – a lack of proper water service – a more likely incident will involve an obstruction over the engine’s water inlet. If the flow of water from the engine is steaming just before the engine shuts down, lift the outboard and check for a plastic bag or other debris around the inlet area. Fortunately, many of today’s high end engines

The good old kill switch – when exposed to salt water these systems can cause engine stoppage, but sometimes removing and then replacing the unit can see it working again. service book that came with the engine and know exactly how to get a rope onto the engine’s fly wheel to give it a pull start. I saw a mate start a 90hp outboard with a rope while we were a long way off the Gold Coast. He knew which parts of the shroud around the flywheel to remove, had the tools aboard to do it and he did it at home as an exercise. He was confident in the whole procedure. Another culprit for electrical failure is the good

old battery isolator switch, if fitted. These items are not bulletproof and if one’s subjected to spray or is located in a place where it can be damp for a fair time, maybe in an enclosed hatch, it can easily short out and stop the engine. Worse, it can fry the engine computer. Maintain your VMR membership as the engine sure won’t be starting again that day. If the isolator switch has dropped its bundle, it’s likely that all electronics can

drop out as well, because power won’t be exiting the battery. Have the phone aboard to ring VMR. In truth, electrical problems from isolator switches are a lot more common than is generally understood. Replace the unit every couple of years if it’s in a place where salt water or salt spray can get near it. PLENTY OF NOISE, NO PROGRESS Let’s take another scenario: the boat has been running well but there was



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s hard to argue with the benefits of a Pickle Fork bow when you’re going fishing. pecially with a few mates. The design allows more storage and more It’s hard to argue with the benefits of a forward Pickle Fork bow when you’re going fishing. sting space. Simply put...more room for mates gear! The But the Pickleallows Fork also Especially with a fewand mates. design more storage and more forward ds tremendous lateral stability which is important when there’s more people


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are designed to detect overheating and respond by shutting down to prevent seizure. If an obstruction is found, give the engine fifteen minutes to cool and try a restart. THE CHAFF CUTTER This describes an engine that is misfiring badly, running rough, or seems to be trying to stop but not quite doing so. This can be a difficult situation to diagnose out on the water, but is often attributed to fuel filter issues. The only option is to keep the engine going – so long as there are no overheat alarms present. Don’t push things too hard, just sneak back to base as quietly and efficiently as possible. Find what revs the engine wants to run at and stay with that one throttle setting. The fuel filter will usually be a job for a marine mechanic unless it’s conveniently located – some certainly aren’t. If the boat can get back to the ramp, the day ends alright. Those are a few first response scenarios, and I sincerely hope that you don’t have to refer to any of them. All else failing, it’s time to call VMR – you can join on the spot if you’re not a member. Get the Vee sheet out to advise other boats that you’re not able to proceed.


Streaker Navigator 6100 with 135hp Mercury


Steve Morgan

The acquisition of Melbourne based Streaker boats by iconic Brisbane boat builder Cruise Craft hasn’t attracted all that much attention. Maybe that’s a good thing and maybe it isn’t, but from a consumer’s point of view, having the brand under the Cruise Craft roof is nothing but positive. Immediately, all wood has been removed from all Streaker models. They are now built with 100% composite materials. Also, you’ll find that the dealer base is expanding, which led us to Brisbane Marine, Streaker’s newest Queensland dealer. Troy Wood and his Brisbane Marine team have

been growing the Clontarfbased business in leaps and bounds in recent years, moving it from a service centre to a boat dealership with marine chandlery and multiple boat brands. On the test day, major building expansions were underway. It’s good to see dealers expanding after the contraction that the GFC caused since the late noughties. Brisbane Marine and Streaker are a good fit.

Surrounded by Moreton Bay, it makes sense for Brisbane Marine to take on a well-built, family-friendly bay boat. Supplied on a quality, Australian made Easytow trailer, the 6100 Navigator is a good looking rig and a perfect match for the 3.0L, 135hp Mercury 4-stroke which is bolted to the transom. It spun a 17” Enertia propeller. Out on the water, the 6100 jumped on the plane with ease and maxed out at

SPECIFICATIONS Length................................................................6.1m Beam................................................................2.49m Total Length on trailer...................................... 7.2m Deadrise.............................................................. 20° Fuel....................................................................184L Tow weight............................................... 1.6 to 1.8t HP................................................................Max 200 Capacity.......................................................6 adults

The split windscreen and front cabin walk through means that whoever is tasked with pulling up the anchor can do it in comfort. 122


Main Pic: The test day was definitely not the best for assessing the rough water capabilities of the biggest Streaker Navigator in the range. Above: All Streaker boats supplied by Brisbane Marine come on customised Easytow trailers, which offer an easy drive-on, drive-off experience. 74km/h with the hammers right down. Of course, not every day is like the test day and the most economical cruising speed was around 3200-3400rpm, where around 2.5km per litre of fuel burned was achieved with judicious trimming. Troy Wood has spent more time than most behind the wheel, and made it his personal challenge to find out the sweetest spot for economy of this rig. And when you think about it, that’s a good figure for a

6m+ cabin boat. I’ve seen much worse in my years in this role. For us, this boat is a pretty good compromise between family and fishing. The cabin is quite spacious in all dimensions and, with the infill fitted, offers sanctuary for those not driven to fish 24/7. The best part about Brisbane Marine is that they’re close to the boat ramp and happy to get you on the water to feel how these Streakers feel for yourself. Check out

PERFORMANCE RPM SPEED (km/h) ECONOMY (km/L) Idle (700)........................5................................2.4 1000...............................8................................2.4 2000............................. 14................................1.5 3000.............................35................................2.4 4000.............................52................................1.9 5000.............................67................................1.5 WOT (5350).................. 74................................1.5 for their package prices and for in-depth details on the hulls. • Quoted performance figures have been supplied by the writer in good faith. Performance of individual boat/motor/ trailer packages may differ due to variations in engine installations, propellers, hull configurations, options, hull loading and trailer specifications. VIDEO

Scan the QR code to see the full boat test with Steve Morgan and Troy Wood

There’s plenty of width in the way for’ard. Most Streakers of this configuration in Melbourne would have an anchor winch. Queenslanders’ requirements are different.

Once you’ve had a drive-on/drive-off trailer, you’ll never go back. The Easytow/Streaker combination works perfectly.

The passenger dash features a large glove box while the driver side has room to flush-mount a large fishfinder/GPS combo. There’s a Mercury Vessel View at the top of the dash which gives all the necessary engine data. Left: There’s plenty of head room on the cabin of the 6100. Here, Brisbane Marine’s Troy Wood does some of his finest male modelling work. Right: The Navigator has impressive gunwale height and room to jam the feet under the side pockets.

Left: With the corner seats out and stowed in the side pocket, there’s more room available in the back corners. Right: Drop the seats back in and there’s a great place to travel, whatever the weather.

Anglers will be happy with the canopy-mounted rocket launchers. They keep the rods out of harm’s way and the cockpit uncluttered.

When you don’t have budget in your photo shoot for bikini-clad models, here’s how you show the available room in the canopy. Here, the infill has been inserted. Not a bad place to wait for a bite.

Left: Now THAT’S a neat console. Sometimes boats offer a great façade and a mess out back, but not this one. There’s even an access hatch to help keep the salt spray out. Right: The 3.0L Mercury 4-strokes have had wide acclaim in the marketplace since their release. The 135 is the smallest of the platform and is as solid as a rock.

The gunwale height makes the side pockets very roomy.



Sea Jay 4.58 Stealth with Yamaha F70 4 stroke


Steve Morgan

Of course we don’t do it enough – take fishing rods on a boat test – but when we had the opportunity to test the new Sea Jay 4.58 Stealth and the Moreton Bay forecast was atrocious, it didn’t take long to get the bass gear out and hit the road for a dawn start at Lake Somerset. October is a kick-ass time of year at Somerset and we’d just has the BASS Megabucks event there, where you typically need up to 10kg (between four bass) to top the field. Naturally, the bass didn’t play the game, even with the man who was responsible for most of them

being in there – Garry, a longserving volunteer member of the Somerset Wivenhoe Fish Stocking Association. We got to spend half a day in the Stealth, drive it to its limits and fish in it. Here’s what we found: the Stealth is definitely an upsized vee-nosed punt rather than a downsized ocean going craft. It’s beamy, high sided and its decks are as high above the waterline as any boat of this class I’ve ever been in. This is a huge advantage when you’re casting lures and trying to sight-fish in shallower waters. You get the angles you need to see down and into the water. It also means is that there’s a pretty big step up onto both the front and rear decks – so much than you nearly need a step somewhere to help bridge the gap. It also means that

the storage space under the decks borders on the obscene. The test boat was fitted with a livewell under both the front and the rear decks and there was still ample space to hold all you’d need for a big day out on the water, and half of what you’d need to camp on an extended trip. The rear deck is interesting. It’s called the ‘Fish Deck’ and is missing the standard aluminium transom that extends above the deck SPECIFICATIONS Length...............4.58m Beam.................2.08m Hull.................... 435kg HP Max................... 70 Fuel....................... 80L Test Weight....... 776kg

Main Pic: Check out how high above the waterline you’re standing in the Stealth! It’s the highest the author has been on a casting deck and it’s great to fish from. Above: Yamaha’s stalwart F70 is the maximum horsepower rated for this hull. It’s miserly on fuel – delivering 3.6km/L at 4000 RPM. level. It’s possible because the rear casting deck is so high. Once you get used to the look you realise there’s many advantages to this layout. Getting in and out of the boat is easier and you can easily sit on the back deck and fish comfortably with your legs over the back onto the PERFORMANCE RPM SPEED KM/L 1000............ 6......... 4.6 2000.......... 10......... 2.5 3000.......... 15......... 1.9 4000.......... 35......... 3.6 5000.......... 46......... 2.9 6000.......... 57......... 2.4 6200.......... 60......... 2.5

The rig gets up to 60km/h in ideal conditions. 124


*15” Yamaha alloy Prop

duckboards. There is nearly no deadrise in the hull, which is awesome for stability and storage – 100% suitable for rivers and impoundments and calm days on the bay. If you want an offshore capable layout, though, pick a Sea Jay with a deeper vee. It’ll land softer and be more comfortable to drive when things get nasty. Overall, this is a good looking boat with a specific still set. Very fishable and capable of carrying a load, it’s cheap to run and ideal for either local or extended trips. Visit for more information. • Quoted performance figures have been supplied

by the writer in good faith. Performance of individual boat/motor/trailer packages may differ due to variations in engine installations, propellers, hull configurations, options, hull loading and trailer specifications. VIDEO

Scan the QR code to see the full boat test with Steve Morgan and Garry Fitzgerald

Fitzy can’t help himself. The test boat was fitted with a MinnKota and Humminbird. They helped us stay on top of and see the fish that we weren’t able to catch. That’s Somerset!

Check out the height of that casting deck. Added to 2m+ beam and there’s a fishing platform that’s second to none.

Left: The 2.08m beam allows plenty of space around the side console. Right: Want to fish two-up off the back deck? No problems.

At WOT, the Stealth reached 60km/h.

The rear hand rails will get a lot of work if you do a lot of trolling. Fitzy’s fitted some rod holder bases to this one.

One of the advantages of the rear ‘fish deck’ is the ease of getting into and out of the boat. The other is the comfortable seating it offers when you want to fish over the back.

Above: Check out that depth in the underfloor storage under the front casting deck. Right: Sea Jay now have their own wrap printing machine and offer a variety of designs and colours to make them an imposing sight on the water and at the ramp.

Top Left: We see plenty of these on our boat tests. Garmin units deliver all the features you need at the right price. This Striker was intuitive to use and accurate. Left: The test boat was fitted with a couple of livewells – one under each casting deck. Full or empty, they made little difference to hole shot in this boat. Right: Little touches, like a weatherproof slot for your keys, wallet and mobile phone, make the boating experience more enjoyable. NOVEMBER 2016


What’s New BOATING



Haines Signature Boats has released its widest runabout yet: the 550RF. The 550RF has more than 11 extra inches of deck space than its predecessor the 543RF. It also features a long-range 180L fuel tank, walk-through front hatch, stainless steel rod holders, large side pockets, live bait tanks, bait board, 32mm stainless steel rails and a walkthrough transom door, as standard. The new-look dash has room for one large or multiple screens, and there are plenty of optional upgrades available such as a Viper drum winch, Roswell Bluetooth sound systems and premium targa. Haines Signature believes the 550F is a true fishing weapon for those in pursuit of an A+ offshore performer. “This boat has been designed and built for our customers who’ve asked us for a runabout that’s capable of running well offshore, but also feels at home trolling rivers and dams,” said John Haines, Chief Executive Officer of The Haines Group. The 550RF has been rated with an outboard range from 115-150hp and is backed by a 10-year structural, 2-year parts warranty. It’s priced from $54,175 BMT.



The Poparazzi has a unique, high winged shape with rocker bottom that allows you to carve into the wake and glide across the water’s surface with minimal drag. With a turn of the boat, inside riders will teeter deep into the wake while the other riders will rise high above it! Multiple EVA foam body pads allow riders to comfortably perform every riding position imaginable. The unique High Rise Tower equipped with multiple double webbing foam handles with knuckle guards allow standing or kneeling on the back deck. The convenient Quick Connect tow point will get you started in a flash, and Speed Safety Valves allow the quickest inflation and deflation possible. Stand, sit, kneel, steer, lay, balance and freestyle on this cool ride! There are two models, the Poparazzi 2 (1-3 people) and the Poparazzi (1-2). Price: from $876



The Minn Kota EO provides up to nine hours of primary propulsion for smaller boats, meaning you’ve got more than enough power for a full day of fishing. There are plenty of features, including Digital Maximizer, which allows you to stay on the water up to five times longer on a single charge. And if you want to know exactly how much longer you’ve got, the Push-To-Test Battery Meter makes it easy. The EO’s Lever Lock Bracket is a solid 10-position bracket that features a quickrelease lever lock and reinforced composite material that resists flexing, warping and UV damage. EO’s high-efficiency prop features a unique, patented design with swept-back, flared blades for reliable performance. There are two models, the EO 1/2hp and EO 1hp. The EO 1/2hp is 12V and weighs 13.8kg, and the EO 1hp is 24V and weighs 17kg. Both models have a 36” (910mm) adjustable shaft. Price: from SRP $1769



Mercury’s two new VesselView multifunction displays are now available, along with the new VesselView Link digital interface. VesselView puts realtime data about your boat and engine performance at your fingertips. Now, the VesselView502 (5”) and VesselView702 (7”) displays go a step further to show data from up to four engines at once. The 502 can interface with broadband sonar with CHIRP, DownScan imaging, and a full-featured chart plotter. Equipped with a Micro SD card slot for installing Maps plus gauge updates, it also comes with internal high-speed 10Hz GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and is GoFree cloud-enabled. The 702 has an ethernet connection to interface with radar, sonar and chart-sharing. It has two video inputs, Micro SD card slots, and an internal GPS and chart plotter. A GoFree Wi-Fi module is included. VesselView Link is now also available – an under-the-dash system integrates SmartCraft data and control system with specific Simrad and Lowrance instruments.


The Fusion StereoActive watersports stereo delivers crystal clear audio, and the optional ActiveSafe securely houses your phone, keys and other valuables. StereoActive’s buttons are adjustable with the touch of a finger or the tap of a paddle, or you can control the unit with a compatible Garmin smartwatch. The locking mechanism securely fixes the unit in place, even in the event of capsizing. In the unlikely event that it does detach, it will float. StereoActive can stream audio via Bluetooth from music services such as Spotify, from a compatible A2DP Bluetooth-enabled device or you can use its AM/FM tuner. There’s a waterproof cavity for a low-profile USB for MP3 playback, and audio playback over USB is available for Apple lightning products and AOA 2.0 Android phones. You can also mount an action cam on the unit. The battery lasts up to 20 hours, and the USB port also provides playback and charging for compatible Apple and Android devices. Price: Approx $400



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Stacer has released two new models in their Ocean Ranger plate range: the 589 and 619 Ocean Ranger Hard Tops. They offer a more budget-friendly option that is still packed with power and strength. The new 589 now has more freeboard at 730mm, for better stability. It’s rated to 150hp with a 135L fuel tank, and an optional 80L secondary tank. The 619 has all the features of the larger hard top models, with more versatility when it comes to storage and towing. It’s rated to 200hp with a standard 168L fuel tank and an 80L optional fuel tank. All Ocean Ranger hard tops now come standard with trim tabs, and also feature Stacer’s new Side Deck Water Shield. All the seats in the range have been upgraded, and there are now two seating options for the 589 and 619 Ocean Rangers. The 619, 679 and 739 Ocean Ranger Hard Tops also feature new sliding side windows.

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Queensland Fishing Monthly November 2016