Mixed bags throughout
  |  First Published: December 2012

The fishing has picked up in Wide Caloundra as the water temperatures have become more consistent.

Excellent trag and pearl perch are on the chew throughout the length of Wide Caloundra, with the colourful supporting cast of mixed reefies; parrot, Moses perch, hussar and Maori cod.

The bite is still quite inconsistent so it is worthwhile checking your Anglers Almanac for the best days and prime bite times to improve your chances of success.

I have been fishing with plastics a fair bit, using mainly TT jigheads from 1 1/2oz to 2oz with pearl 8” Z-Man tails to great effect. Interestingly, when the bite on paternosters and bait drops off, the Z-Man jigs will continue to catch fish on most occasions. I have also been float lining with 4-8 balls and snooded whole pilchards, whole squid and long mullet strips, which are accounting regularly for larger fish.

Trolling, after the past couple of years in the doldrums, has returned with a vengeance. While live bait is still hard to jig up consistently, there have been plenty of wahoo at Hutchies on high speed lures, as well as acres of striped tuna north and east of Hutchies. Small black marlin in the 10-25kg range are spread out from the tip of Fraser down to Shallow Tempest, with captures of eight a day not uncommon.

While retrieving a solid pearly from 90m I had what I thought was a shark go for the fish beside the boat. It turned out to be an angry black around 20kg that swam round and round at the back of the boat waiting for the pearly to be returned to it. However, that pearly was earmarked for human consumption, not bait, so the little black swam away disappointed.

New Year’s resolutions

Now freed from the constraints of commercial charter operation, I would like to do more exploring. I reckon a good trip to do would be to fish my way through the length of Wide Caloundra, spend the night, or nights, at Mooloolaba, and wend my way home to Scarborough.

Shackled like most coxswain-endorsed charter operators are to 15 miles from their port, I have fished heavily the bottom end of Wide Caloundra and it would be great to set off for further afield. It is also a great excuse to catch up with buddies at Mooloolaba for a night at the Boat Club there as well.

A circumnavigation of Moreton Island is on my list as well.

I’d like to get better at deep water anchoring so that I can stay on fish longer. There is an art to anchoring so that you are on the fish in over 50m of water. Current, tide, wind, where the fish are in relation to the ledge, the amount of rode to be paid out are all important ingredients for successful anchoring.

I would alsolike to spend more time in the shallows from the Wild Banks artificial reefs north to Murphys. There are plenty of cod, cobia and XOS grass sweetlip to be had on livies, and I would like to learn more about this productive and easily accessible area.

I’d recommend these activities to all who regularly fish Wide Caloundra and any feedback or ideas of what to do to improve the success of these activities would be very welcome.

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--


Stakeholder representation

2013 will be a challenging year for fishers of all persuasions as they attempt to have their voices heard.

While I agree with QFM Editor Steve Booth that a sympathetic and pro active public servant is required to head up the recreational fishing section of fisheries (one I believe we already have in Tony Ham), in the end the responsibility for putting the recreational viewpoint forward lies fairly and squarely with fishers themselves.

Surely there is a retired philanthropist who is prepared to travel the state, hold a port meeting at every whistle stop, and re-energise the simple fisher in trying to protect and enhance his local fishing activity. And meet with club fishers to discuss the issues that affect the success or otherwise of their club events, not just bleat for the end to commercial inshore netting and trawling as the universal panacea.

Without a strong individual to drive and unite the recreational sector, and a young enthusiastic team behind him or her, the status quo will remain.

The ‘peak bodies’:

There have been NO decent outcomes for rec fishers or fishers of any persuasion since the rise and rise of the very Green anti-fishing lobby has swamped the amateurish, disassociated and divided ‘peak body’ fishing representation in Queensland.

At least the QSIA has taken a hard look at itself, appointed a new Board, restructured its finances and set about listening to and recruiting back former members who were ignored over the past few years by a centrist administration.

Compare this with Sunfish, who are engaged in a public and acrimonious media squabble with the Fisheries Minister. Viewing the Sunfish website I was greeted by an unnamed, unsigned and undated Chairman’s report riddled with formatting errors, an ‘Angler’s Education’ page without one report on the success or otherwise of these activities (or even if they actually took place), participation rates, pictures of happy children fishing, etc and an ‘Events Page’ which still has not advertised a forthcoming Sunfish event over the two years I have viewed the site – enough said!
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