Pearlies extend their stay
  |  First Published: September 2012

Normally at this time of year I am spruiking about the spring kingfish influx, but they haven’t turned up yet. I’m not concerned because many species have been a little late to the party this year.

Good numbers of snapper are showing up, even through the normally tepid waters of Wide Caloundra. Water temperatures will most likely stay down until October, so keep fishing as though it is winter into this first month of spring.

There have been snapper everywhere, from Scarborough Reef to Deep Tempest. The great pearl perch has also continued past winter, which is great for local anglers. We may be coming to the end of the excellent trag jew fishing, which started in 2008 and saw trag become more plentiful than snapper and even pearlies on some Wide Caloundra reefs. Even on the full moons trag are only being sporadically caught this year as opposed to their proliferation and dominance in recent years.

Live baiting has been really hit and miss of late. There has also been extended dead periods this past month where it has been impossible to lose a bait, even on lightly fished deep water marks. This has been compensated by the really productive hot bites that have occurred. I have been fishing a lot more into the evening, and with a bit of moon I’ve found those fish that were bait shy during daylight would come on the chew. Anchoring is the best technique for night fishing.


After clocking up 60 hours in my 2005 Wellcraft 290, Valhalla, I’d like to share the boat’s fishing features and layout. There is a very good blend of standard fittings and after market additions to make for an excellent fishing machine.

Features of my boat include a hot and cold deck shower, four aft rod holders, and a low-profile bait board mounted directly in front of the rod holders.

The padded central ice box is designed to hold four fish bins. Usually two bins were used to hold iced fish with the others being for bait and client’s drinks. Two huge underfloor storage bins are located either side of the central fish box. The port bin holds the buckets, anchor retriever and the sea anchor, while the starboard underfloor bin is usually used to hold longer fish such as cobia, amberjack and kingfish.

There’s also a saltwater deck wash, 160L plumbed live bait tank with light, and a fresh water sink. Both of these have lids that can be used as cutting boards. To port is the rope locker, which holds 300m of warp, anchor chain. The cockpit is tight but has plenty of seating and is extremely efficient for up to four anglers.

Fishing deep water you need good electronics to be your eyes, ears and nose. So I had the boat’s dash modified to hold two 12” screens. One is the sounder and dedicated radar after sundown, and the other is the GPS.

Concerning Comments

In a letter to the Member for Gympie, David Gibson (who was seeking a response on behalf of charter businesses in the Wide Bay/Fraser Coast area), Fisheries Minister, John McVeigh said that the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) is not proposing to limit the number of recreational fishers or expect that there would be an economic return to anglers for what is essentially a recreational activity.

During our 30 minute conversation with one of McVeigh’s advisors, it was confirmed that commercial charter operators were indeed simply classified as recreational fishers (despite some having millions of dollars invested in their businesses), and that the reason for not progressing the status of charter was to avoid having to pay compensation in the event that these businesses were closed down by Government activity (i.e Marine Protected Areas).

It seems as though the Newman Government are almost trying to destroy the trust of charter operators. I have spent the last nine years of my life trying to obtain some business certainty through secure access to our fisheries resources.

It seems either McVeigh has been badly advised by Fisheries staff who remain true to Beattie’s ideals of giving away our fisheries in exchange for votes, or we have just elected a Government that is keeping its options open for more MPAs and don’t want to take responsibility for any related charter business closures.

It makes it very hard to want to invest when the Government cannot secure our industry’s future.

Incredible Charters is now in the safe hands of Brendon Watson. If you would like to fish Wide Caloundra or other offshore destinations with Incredible Charters, please call Brendon on (07) 3203 8188 or 0427 038 188, or email --e-mail address hidden--

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