The weather gods have not been kind of late, especially over the last month. The summer weather patterns have been volatile and trips to the reef have been far and few between. That is not unusual this time of the year but the weather map is certainly looking more fisher-friendly for this month.
My boat stayed in the shed last month and I didn’t see many boats at the boat ramps. Reef reports came from some of the bigger guys who ventured out in the morning and back before the afternoon sea breezes made for an uncomfortable trip home.
The issue about fishing in the harbour is still not resolved. We are still waiting for official and irrefutable evidence from the experts. The most recent report can be found at www.fishgladstone.com . Suffice to say the testing of the 138 barramundi caught, 48 showed cloudy eyes and/or lesions.
DERM have updated information on their website and have stated:
“Latest test results have shown no clear link between dredging in Port Curtis harbour and dissolved metals. While three metals were found to have exceeded national guideline levels, these exceedances would pose minimal risk to marine organisms at the levels measured according to these guidelines.”
They continue to say that:
“Testing to date confirms that water quality data is consistent with natural variations associated with large tidal ranges and wet season runoff.”
We are none the wiser about why diseased fish are still being caught in Gladstone and until this matter is resolved a cloud hangs over Gladstone fishing community.
DERM continue to monitor water condition during their monthly testing programs.
I have only heard of confirmed reports of affected barra, sharks and crabs. The other estuary species seem to be unaffected. Let me know if you have found any different.
It is worth noting that throughout the Queensland east coast, a closed season applies to barramundi from midday 1 November to midday 1 February. It is also prohibited to deliberately target barramundi for catch and release during these closed seasons, as the stress of capture may prevent a fish from spawning. But with the hundreds (perhaps thousands) of barramundi escaping Awoonga Dam during the floods, it is hard to keep barra from the hook.
Fishers who are flicking around the Boyne River and reaches of Pikes Crossing are likely to hook up a barra or two. They are still fairly prolific. I know Paul and Mitchell Kirkman hooked onto a few beauties while fishing the deeper sections of Pikes Cossing. Martin Davis also hooked onto a beauty while fishing the Boyne River. I know these guys took great care of their fish and returned them to the water as soon as possible.
Of course, the barramundi in Awoonga Dam have no closed season. The impoundment barra do not breed in the dam as they do not have suitable conditions in the dam to spawn.
There have been a few fishers who have moved into the smaller estuaries trying to stay out of the persistent summer winds.
A couple of guys have ventured up to The Lillies where you can get out of the breeze and flick into the small estuaries behind the camping ground. At high tide there is considerable depth around so you can often pick up estuary cod and, because you are close to the mouth of the river, you can occasionally pull in a grassy sweetlip.
The beach area is a great place to flick for whiting. The sand moves around here so the gutters are always changing. There are a couple of rocks that become exposed during low tide so watch for these and put them into you Navman or other suitable memory bank.
Bream are great to locate at mid tide on a rising tide as the larger specimens come hunting around to pick off the rocks. The rocks are sitting on sand so the usual whiting and flathead will also be worthy targets.
The Calliope anabranches have been popular but only smaller stripies, bream and grunter have been caught.
There have been a couple of bumper bream being caught from Beecher Creek but the water is still a bit muddy. Once you pick up a catfish, pick up your anchor and move elsewhere. Devil’s Elbow is worth a look if Beecher Creek isn’t doing it for you. The current flows quite quickly around the bends, so the water quality is usually better.
A new website has just started called fishgladstone.com. The site is only a few weeks old and will hopefully continue to grow. It contains mud maps and details of how to get into Gladstone’s prime fishing locations. Have a look, there is no cost to sign up and current information can be emailed to a location of your choice. Feedback is welcome from visitors.
The coral reef fin fish closure dates for 2012-2013 are listed below:
• 12 October to 16 October 2012, and 11 November to 15 November 2012;
• 2 October to 6 October 2013, and 31 October to 4 November 2013.