Bruisers on the Bite
  |  First Published: December 2010

More anglers are starting to dust off their trolling gear as the fishing grounds east of the South Passage Bar see a transition from the winter reef species to the summer pelagics.

The trolling season is shaping up alright so far with some quality wahoo caught in the Hutchinson shoal area north of Cape Moreton and a few fish also turning up on the sevens northeast of Point Lookout.

A couple of years back we had a fantastic run of small wahoo in December and January with fish turning up everywhere, fingers crossed it happens this year.

Last mackerel season has every mackerel fisho looking forward to the upcoming season and if it’s only half as good, it will still see plenty of Spanish mackerel caught along the coast off southeast Queensland.

On charter I don’t usually start targeting Spaniards and wahoo until I get back from holidays at the end of January when the fish are nearly in full swing along Moreton Islands, the close in coffee rock reefs and in the Point Lookout area. Some years Point Lookout sees a run of juvenile Spanish mackerel in the 5-7kg range in late November through to December. So if you’re in the area, don’t be afraid to soak a livie around any of the rock structures.

Fishing east of the South Passage Bar has been really consistent and there’s only been the odd day with the breeze coming out of the true east and for some reason the fish get finicky in an easterly as they do in a northwesterly.

In late October, one client requested we chase amberjack rather than snapper; like this time last year, the amberjack are in very good numbers with most days seeing some red hot action.

Most fish have been coming from between 70-85m of water on the 35, 37 and 42 fathom reefs and along with the amberjack there are been some quality trag and to a lesser extent, yellowtail kingfish.

The 42 fathom line has been fishing really well of late but the amount of boats there on the weekends usually shuts the fish down pretty quickly.

When this happens I’ve been moving away to some more isolated bits of ground in about 75m and we’ve been boating our limit of amberjack between 8-12kg with a few quality peal perch to 5kg mixed in.

Amberjacks of this size pull hard and certainly give the angler a run for their money but this is around the maximum size I like to eat; the smaller ones are definitely better chewing.

There have also been plenty of yellowtail kingfish eager to take a bait but most of these fish are undersize with the new limit of 60cm. Fisheries in my opinion have got this bag limit of two right to ensure the sustainability of the stocks. But the rat kings are in plague proportions, and a size limit of 50cm would be better in my opinion.

There’s also been plenty of trag about and on some days you just can’t get a bait past them. There appears to be good stocks of trag in the waters of southeast Queensland with plenty of good catches report and after having a chat to another couple of charter skippers, they’re also seeing increased numbers of trag, up north of Cape Moreton.

The bag limit of five imposed by Fisheries a few years back seems to be working to keep the stocks of trag jew heading in the right direction.

Although this time of year is a real transitional time east of the bar, anglers still have a wide variety of target species. Pelagic numbers are on the increase and out wide kingies and ambos will be keen to take both live baits and jigs.

On the days when there’s plenty of current out wide, jigging definitely becomes a better option. For the snapper anglers the shallower reefs around Point Lookout and also Shallow Tempest, north of the green zone should produce some good fishing and the possibility of real mixed bags.

The silly season is almost upon us, so take that bit of extra care on the water and at boat ramps and if you are a once of year boat user make sure your rig is serviced and all required safety gear is on board.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Christmas and New Year with their families and Santa bring you that bit of a tackle you wanted.

Until next year, enjoy your fishing take care on the coastal bars and if you’d like to join me on charter (max. 5 persons) give me a call on 07 3822 9527 or 0418 738 750 or visit www.outlawcharters.com.au.

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