Take the Weather with you
  |  First Published: July 2011

July is a magic month for three reasons: usually reasonable weather with calm afternoons and evenings; glorious picture perfect sunsets with purple and orange skies while whales frolic in the foreground; and seriously good snapper fishing.

Late starts are the preferred option and Incredible won’t be leaving until 10:00 am in July. The best part of the day both weather and fishing wise is from 2pm on.

Apart from a possible southerly swell, the lack of current and wind make July very desirable for piscatorial pastimes. Target snapper by float lining with a single ball sinker from a number 10 down to a pea sinker depending on current and drift. All the 58m, 64m, 69m, 72m, 82m and 95m ledges are currently holding good snapper. Set up a drift with a sea anchor along the ledges and keep feeding your floater back.

The sounder will show plenty of patches of fish well off the bottom and these are usually snapper. Pearlies on the inside grounds shallower than 75m are usually smaller fish and not worth targeting.

Winter sees the trag jew show up in good numbers especially on dusk. On dusk you have the choice of loading up on trag, especially if you have got a few snapper during the afternoon, or anchoring up in shallower water and putting out a berley trail for more snapper.

This is a great way to catch snapper and they put up an excellent fight on spin gear with little weight. I have had to throw away a few egg beater reels because the bail arms were so badly bent from trying to close them on runaway snapper.

I have heard rumours of ‘upgrading’, throwing back dead snapper to keep a larger fish caught later in the day. Any genuine angler would not engage in this process. If you have bagged out then you have a great feed. Change locations and techniques and see what else you can add to the creel or catch and release.

Yellowtail kings, especially the bigger fellows, are lurking around the shallow reefs and deep drop-offs as a source of pain if you choose to tempt them with livies, jigs or big plastics.

Predicting the weather

Wide Caloundra is very exposed to wind from any direction with nowhere to hide. With the western edge of Wide Cal being nearly 30km from the Bribie coast, you want to be hopeful that you are heading out for a fish in reasonable conditions. I will outline how I decide whether or not to head out. This issue I will deal with judging wind and wave conditions and next month deal with the people considerations. (See Fact box for website detail – ED)

Seabreeze and Buoyweather offer seven day forecasts including wind and sea height predictions. Buoyweather is a subscriber site that requires an annual fee to access the seven day forecasts. Both are excellent sites but usually understate wind predictions by an average of 5 knots. This is important to keep in mind.

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) information cam be accessed through the homepage of the website or through easily accessed through the drop down weather menu on the Incredible Charters home page.

Forecasts are limited to two days but the best feature of BOM is the ‘Current Observations’. These list the wind strength and direction and rainfall for the last three days in half hour increments. You can see at a glance whether the predictions match reality, which is really the secret of making good decisions.

When you have looked at a number of predictions indicating a great day on the water when it is actually gusting to 25 knots at the Cape, you can see how important it is to get the real picture from Current Observations. Southwesterlies are usually understated on Cape Moreton probably because of the position of the anemometer.

The ‘Marine Wind Forecast’ section on BOM is great as it has predictions in three hourly intervals overlaid on a southeast Queensland chart, but this function can be a little tricky to operate initially.

None of these sites are perfect! Think of using them like having a conversation with four trusted friends on the topic of weather. Sometimes the weather sites all agree in their predictions, which is great. Other times the opinions are split which puts more onus on you to make a good decision. But you should really be looking at all four sites for their predictions and comparing them to the Current Observations.

I also call trusted real life friends like John Gooding from Outlaw Charters, Wazza from MIFC and Bruce Sutton, the pro crabber who works the Wide Caloundra area to seek their opinions. These blokes have genuine offshore knowledge and are perfect sounding boards on weather decisions. By doing all this I have armed myself with the best available weather information available.

If you would like to catch a winter snapper among the whales on the Incredible, please call Keith on 3203 8188 or email him on --e-mail address hidden--

Weather on the Web

Incredible Charterswww.incrediblecharters.com.au
Marine Wind Forecast:www.bom.gov.au/marine/wind.shtml
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