Small windows of opportunity
  |  First Published: April 2012

As the water cools off in April anglers will have to work a little bit harder for their target species, but the rewards are worth it.

The fishing has been good when you get that window of tolerable weather. The whiting have been a really reliable target for most anglers. Red Beach and the surf gutters north to Coloundra is the area to target with a lot of these fish being real elbow slappers.

You’ll need to be using beach worms to get the required results and early morning is the time to go – get out and get home before the sparrows start. There’s been some nice whiting coming out of Pumicestone Passage up around Coochin Creek mouth and the yabbie banks in the surrounding areas.

Yellowfin bream, grunter bream and tarwhine are about both up and down Pumicestone Passage. I haven’t had a chance to target them myself but I have seen some pretty impressive hauls from a few of the experienced Passage locals. The grunter bream will taper off this month but tarwhine quality should remain and even get stronger as the water gets colder.

There has been a light sprinkling of flathead around in the deeper holes and gutters throughout Pumicestone Passage from top to bottom – well worthy of a quick flick when you’re out and about on the water. Don’t panic if you don’t get good results because these guys will become thick and fast in the coming months so get your bait, plastics, hard bodies, blades and poppers out ready. They are suckers for whatever you want to throw at them.

Snapper have been thin, but are set to get better. Most of them are just legal but that’s the size you want for the pan. We will see some bigger fish coming in soon – just remember the minimum size is 35cm, only one fish per person over 70cm and a bag limit of four per person.

While chasing snapper you’re sure to get a good by-catch of jew, spangled emperor, estuary cod and bream. These fish can sometimes take the lime light, so have your camera on stand-by; with a bit of luck you will need it. Be sure to support their underbelly and cradle them gently if wanting to release them.

This month will see the jack beginning to shut down and hard to target. They will still feed but their metabolism slows right down. If you want them to eat, you will need to put your offering right on their nose and annoy them; don’t take no for an answer. Catching and releasing these brutes is great fun and best of all they have a great survival rate.

The muddies have stolen the show for most anglers of late with great hauls all over Pumicestone Passage. Just stick to the deeper water and make sure your pots have ample bait supply because a pot with half a dozen crabs in it and this is like feeding an army.

The bag limit is 10 per person and size limit is 15cm across the carapace. Name, address and phone number is to be displayed on floats and pots – both must be marked clearly. It’s in your best interest to do the right thing because if fisheries aren’t happy with your labels they have the power to seize them.

Prawns are all the go with most of your creeks holding good numbers. As a rule of thumb the deeper water will hold better concentrations of prawns than the shallow water and low tide will mostly work best. A limit of 10L per person applies.

Just a little reminder that the fisheries are patrolling Pumicestone Passage heavily and doing a great job. They informed me of a new rule the enforcing – as a boat owner you need to clearly mark the location of your life jackets. For example, place a highly visible sticker as close to the jackets as possible stating one word “LIFEJACKETS” in bold type.

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