You have to admit, it’s getting better along the Passage.
  |  First Published: March 2012

The fishing has been hard lately, but the flip side it can – and will – only get better!

From the middle of March through to the end of April, there will be some fun times for anglers and crabbing enthusiasts.

On that note, there have been some great crabs around, mainly muddies. The majority of the hauls have been full, generous, rusty bucks. There have been some huge female crabs in the pots devouring the baits as well. These big girls love their food so just make sure your pots have ample bait supply and are anchored down well.

Bait bags, bait pipes and zip ties are the best bait security devices. These large crabs will find small flaws in your pots and do what they can to escape; they can find small holes quite quickly and turn them into big ones fast.

Keep a close eye on your pots. Wetting a line not too far away from your crabbing spot is a good practice because unfortunately we do have our fair share of crab pot thieves on the passage.

Don’t forget that when setting and checking pots it’s not hard to get the kids involved; I would suggest tying up the crabs to give the kids some closer interaction. My daughter is just short of four years old and she is already stepping in and stealing the show – and loving it!

Flathead have been caught around most of the weedy drop-offs and edges on the bottom of the tides with plastics and small slabbed baits, just watch your leader as the flathead can fray and weaken your trace. It’s a good idea to check your leader after each fish is landed and replace it if necessary.

As a rule you should only be using a 10lb leader and keep a check on it. Don’t go putting 30lb on and say they can’t chew me off – the chances are they will take one look at your 30lb line and turn the other way. They are very shy of heavy line, so keep it light and use your head.

Grunter bream and yellowfin bream have been around and are usually found in the same areas and taken on the same baits. Some anglers have been catching up to a dozen of each and others just reporting the one or two. I have a hunch the guys collecting a dozen may have stayed out all night to do so, but the best baits would be live yabbies, fresh mullet strips and chook or chook guts and intestines.

Whiting fishers have had mixed results as well. Some guys have been landing a bag full and others only just getting a taste. Generally speaking, if you do get a few, they are in good size. These guys have been taken off Red Beach, Bribie Island, the yabby banks off Toorbul, Donnybrook and the mouth of Bells and Choochin creeks.

Live worms are your best ammo to throw at them, however the yabby’s don’t seem to be doing nearly as well of late. Most good tackle shops will stock beach or mud worms leading into the weekend, just give them a quick buzz and get them to put some aside for you as they do tend to sell out quickly.

There has been a fair few jewfish being landed, but once again they are only just legal, if at all - the majority of them have been under size. I’ve angled a few lately and they varied from 65-75cm and the legal size is 75cm so you need to treat them gently to ensure their survival to fight another day. They are a very fast growing species so I hope to report on bigger fish soon.

The jewfish should bite in the next couple of months as there is plenty of bait around, mainly herring, and they love herring – so guys, fingers crossed and I’ll keep you posted!

There has been a hand full of trevally around, mainly angled as by-catch while chasing other species. They have been ranging from 1kg up to 3kg. When you hook a 3kg trevally on 10lb line you know you are in for some fun. Their never say die attitude will have you on the edge of your seat the whole time.

The travally have been found in 2ft of water on the top of the yabby banks and in 20ft around the Bribie Bridge, so picking a spot for you would be impossible. But have a rod loaded with a surface popper ready to go, as they often bust the surface chasing hearing, potty mullet and prawns. Trust me you won’t want to miss the opportunity.

Hopefully by the time you read this the prawns will be in full swing, providing the heavy rain stays away long enough. Pick a creek closest to you, they will all hold prawns, and make sure you watch your net on the snags. With the creeks you will get a new snag each season as new debris comes down in flood water – there’s nothing we can do about it but mark in on your GPS or in your brain.

These guys are awesome to eat and even better for bait, dead or alive. A little piece of advice is to freeze them in containers with salt water for bait all year round. When defrosted they come out as fresh as the day they went in, even 12 months later. Bob’s your uncle – all you need to do is go fishing. See you there!

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