The weather has been a bit stormy and unpredictable, but despite this the fishing both inshore and offshore has been good for the most part.
The Road to Stanage in mid January was good with the usual few pot holes and corrugation.
The creeks, especially Tilpal, have the encouraging sign of water remaining from the last storm and as per usual at this time of year, we are waiting for the annual wet season to swell all the creek crossings over the road. This always happens when Stanage has the king tides, up to 6.m and more... that’s when the barra have their usual exchange from salt water to fresh, and visa versa when they have spawned.
Thirsty Sound running into Broadsound and the Herbert have been fishing quite well at the right time of the tides. Remember, berley counts up here and be fishing at the change of tide. Good to extremely good catches of jewfish in the holes from undersize to oversize. Even the most useless of fishers are able to hook one!
Mangrove jack have been in the creek holes and threadfin salmon at the mouths of the creeks with whiting off the sandbars and on the beach when the weather permits.
Everyone who uses the good pots and fresh bait and takes notice of how and where they set their pots are getting enough muddies to keep their taste buds and tummies happy. There is a few greedy anglers who visit Stanage with the thoughts of getting as much mud crab and fish as they can and forget every one else! What we call ‘fill the esky attitudes’.
That’s all fine and dandy, however the only reason Stanage is still so good, is because of the professional fishers and crabbers. Since I came here to professionally fish and crab in 1980, the pros have always taken pride in the sustainability. Once upon a time, if you had to put a measurer on a muddy and it was undersize, we would throw it back until next shell change. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen these days with so many recreational crabbers visiting constantly.
The weather allowed the few big boats to get outside fishing the islands and reef. Nice catches of sweetlip, spangled and red emperor, large and small mouth nannygai and coral trout have all come aboard.
The bag limits were filled by everyone I have spoken to, with catches as close as Two Roundrocks, the Wreck, Danger Rock, Hexham group of islands the Percy Isles.
Bad luck to the campers who thought small male and female crabs were legal to catch, take, cook and eat. You have been sprung. Remember to check with QLD Transport Maritime Safety, GBRMPA and Boating and Fisheries for all the rulings on the waterways prior to visiting Stanage. I have been constantly asking the associated government authorities for a booklet to give out, however I have received not one to date.Reads: 624