Reefies and stacks of macks.
  |  First Published: October 2013

September started with good weather after the last of August was brilliant, allowing all the offshore anglers to get out to the wider grounds, hopefully conditions allow for more offshore fishing in October.

The Redfern Reef patches start about 45km from Rosslyn Bay and head north all the way inside the reef. In our area we have quite a bit of shoal country starting approximately 86km out (north of North West Island) including the well known Douglas, Innamincka, Barcoo and Moresby. These shoals are the favourite haunts of the small charter fleet from here and Gladstone. Because the fleet is so small and the weather plays the biggest part in our fishing opportunities, you can always catch quality fish with a bit of scouting about.

The expected catch is always red throat emperor and coral trout over the top of the shoals but in the surrounding country red emperor come to the fore.

Spanish mackerel are present all year particularly at the ends of the passes and the points where the current forms eddies and wash.

Giant trevally are another catch although the average guys target other stuff and release the big trevs to fight another day. This type of mission out to the wides should only be taken by experienced boaties with decent offshore rigs, large fuel capacity and good weather predicted for the duration of the trip.

We have had a slow spell with fish like big reds in shallower water over previous months. I was at the Tightlines Fishing Competition recently talking to a couple of professionals about this. One of them came up with a theory: the unusual amount of earthquakes in eastern or southern Australia and New Zealand in the past twelve months has affected the fishing. These tremors and quakes make the fish move into deeper water than usual for short periods. He said that many of the other line fishing pros had similar thoughts. I did a little research and checked this out with the ES&S Seismology Research Centre. We have had over thirty minor quakes and tremors from 2.4-4 on the Richter scale already this year. There may be some merit in this. My previous theory was that reefies feed better on the incoming tides in our area and over the last few months (when I have had the chance to get offshore) the best weather has been on weekends where the lows were in the middle of the day. It also leads me to previous years where the fishing was much better at times forgetting the early morning starts and heading out at lunch time for an afternoon/early evening session instead. On saying this, we have still scored the odd decent catches around the closer patches, but our best captures were definitely in the deeper 45-65m depths.

All sorts of mackerel have shown in recent catches from around the islands and out to the wides. This time of year the Spaniards are pretty well the only resident fish and there are some big fish among them like the 30kg fish weighed in at The Tightlines.

The southern part of the bay has been the go for spotties although the big schools have bypassed us so far. Some fine fish have still arrived and the signs are we may get a reasonable run through October or November. Spotties seem to start in spots like Quartz, Pelican, Wedge and Divided in the southern end of the bay out from Keppel Sands and Emu Park. From there they move through the other coastal patches like Ritamada, Ironpot, Double Heads, Forty Acre, The Rosslyn Bay Harbour wall, Farnborough, Bangalee and Findlays. They will grab either lures or pillies so take both to increase your chances. One technique is to leave a floating pilly out the back while you cast a chromie out the side. Spotties usually hang a little deeper in the water column so by adding a pea sinker above the gangs you can put the pilchard down where the fish are. When casting chromies it pays to keep the lure in the water as long as possible and cover the maximum water with each retrieve. To do this I always count to 10 after the cast to let the lure sink down as far as I am game in shallow water and count more when fishing the deeper parts.

Recent glassy days have produced good shows of doggies at many of the spots you get spotties and a few other areas including Clayton’s, Humpy, Sykes, Liza Jane, Man and Wife, Outer and Barren. On those exceptionally still glassy mornings they school along the harbour wall and some locals don’t even bother to get the boat out because they can get all the fish they need land-based. I sound repetitious but the best way for anyone that doesn’t fish around here normally to find out whether the doggies or spotties are around is to drive along the coast heading south from Yeppoon towards the harbour and look for tinnies gathered around the headlands or just out from the harbour wall. Another give away is the anglers lined along the rocks at Double Heads looking like spikes on an echidna, hence the local name Porcupine Point.

Flathead have been on fire in the local estuaries lately with the only problem being that there is a very high ratio of oversized fish. It’s not often we can say that, but the past month all of the local flatty chasers have complained that they are getting a stack of big girls in between keeper fish. Many of these guys are experienced and have released them all unharmed. The best spots at present to catch a flathead, are towards the mouths of the main creeks lining the deeper channels and eddies around the sandbanks.

King salmon are going hard in the river as reports come in of schools hammering the little run off gutters downstream of Nerimbera. There is loads of prawn fry everywhere and the salmon are fattening up big time. The guys having the most success are throwing the small, almost clear atomic prongs and any other tiny prawn like plastic they can find, the smaller the better. The best option is to hit the river just after high and work the gutters as they become exposed. Kings will move around in very shallow water, even if it looks like melted chocolate they can feel the fry with their whiskers. Reedys and Little Oaky down at Port have a fair population of kings and they all work the same way. The top end of Waterpark and Coorooman creeks are other prime locations for salmon this month.

Some of the biggest barra caught in the Fitzroy for ages have been appearing in the last few weeks. The crew fishing the town reaches has had nothing to complain about as they released upwards of a dozen fish over 1.2m this week. People who have never caught a metrey before can lay claim to more than one in a week. Transams and threadybusters are the goods for the plastics guys. Live silver perch are always good, particularly as there is a ready supply in the freshwater lagoons surrounding Rockhampton (adhere to local size and bag limits). The hardbody lure guys have to work a bit harder for their captures, although trolling deep divers heading down to low tide does okay.

Well done to Yeppoon Coast Guard for putting on another fine fishing comp. As their primary fundraiser it also fills the gap along the coast for those who wish to test their skills against others. There were quite a few class fish caught over the event and one standout was a 10.5kg largemouth nannygai caught by junior Jack Sutton.

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