Go back to basics in tough times
  |  First Published: November 2012

Fishing at Wide Caloundra has remained really tough.

Good mate and fellow straight shooter Adam Austin from Odyssey Charters has been reporting how hard the fishing has been. And if Adam is doing it tough, then things are bloody slow! He is a very good, diligent fisherman and charter skipper who does the miles for his clients, but even Adam has found it a bit hit and miss.

If you have fish on the sounder that won’t bite, then go back to basics. Use the same technique as you would for kingies or cobia in shallow water where they are all around the boat but won’t take a bait. Forget about paternosters; use floaters, preferably with the tiniest amount of lead, no leaders, and smaller hooks buried in the bait. Use pillies that have been crushed in your hand and are oozing, and berley, berley, berley! You may not fill the creel, but you will tempt the odd critter to take a bite at your morsels.

That said, we have had disappointing Septembers and Octobers before and then November has coughed up fish in spades.

Cobia should be well and truly around this month. Your first stop should be the new artificial reefs for live bait and a couple of drops for cobia.

Pearlies turn up in November in good numbers, but be prepared to fish a bit wider on the 100m line and to the north to get your bag of tasty pearlies.

Hussar have been everywhere from Wide Caloundra to Deep Tempest but not in any real numbers or size yet.

Trag have been the biggest disappointment after starring for the past couple of years. They can be a bit ‘here today and gone tomorrow’, or even gone for a couple of years or more! They are still scattered through Wide Caloundra but the spectacular catches of 2010 and 2011 are definitely behind us.

Juvenile yellowtail kings and amberjack are always a target species in November. Livies, if you can get them, Japanese jigs or cubing and float lining are the best techniques. The best place to start looking for these hard fighting fish is the northern end of Hutchies, Roberts or Shallow Tempest.

Keeping informed

The dust has not yet settled on the Newman Government’s restructure of the State Public Service but it is clear there will be fewer staff in Fisheries than there were under Labor. One positive is the axing of that oxymoron, the Commercial Fisheries Economic Development Unit. Another is the trimming, by accident or design, of a number of ‘environmental’ scientists who were at the vanguard of the push for the Green Zones in the Moreton Bay Marine Park.

I wish Brigid Kerrigan, former line Fisheries manager, all the best in her future endeavours. Brigid was, in my opinion, fed to the wolves by stakeholders and senior management alike over the failed Rocky Reef management review. Time will tell when some of Brigid’s much maligned management options, especially for the charter and recreational sectors, are revived.

The major issue for Fisheries Queensland is not the names or numbers of staff, but how those remaining are organised, led and directed. Fisheries has been outstanding for its lack of direction. A classic case in point was during the Rocky Reef Review process when the trawl manager met with a small group of stakeholders to explain his proposal to extend the stout whiting trawl fishery down into Wide Caloundra. This was despite a pearl perch by-catch in 90% of trial shots, and a stated intention of snapper line fishery management process to minimise transfer of effort away from snapper to pearl perch or trag. Why wasn’t senior management telling the trawl manager very politely to shove off? There was NO leadership on this and other issues that left the line manager and other good staff with no support. Hopefully Minister McVeigh is doing a lot of serious homework on how to get Fisheries restructured and working again.

In closing, Senator Ron Boswell, the fisherman’s friend, has announced he will not be contesting the next Federal Senate election. Ron has been a tireless worker for anglers. He got a fair compensation package for North Queensland fishermen and marine businesses shafted by the ludicrous and politically driven GBRMPA process and, more recently, in attempting to minimise the harm to all fishers from the extremely flawed Bioregional Planning process being driven by Gillard, Burke and the Greens.

Thank you for your efforts Ron. You have been a great man and a rallying point for all us fishos, whether recreational, commercial or charter.

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 3203 8188 or 0427 038 188 or email: --e-mail address hidden--

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