A golden spot of cod
  |  First Published: November 2015

We are well into spring now and as the weather heats up, so does our typical run of goldspot cod through September, October and November. Cod to 20kg have been a regular catch and a welcomed addition to the icebox.

I can hear a lot of you screaming at the magazine, “Lukey! Are you mad? What are you talking about? Cod aren’t a very sought after catch!” Well, I may be slightly affected by too much salt air, however, the fact is they are quite nice on the plate. Despite the belief by many that they are slimy and ugly. They have a soft, white flesh, which cooks well. Just try it next time you catch one. Like always, preparation of the fish from the water to the plate is the key to a delicious dinner.

Delicious dinners have been regularity over the past month, with our highly prized reef fish coming more and more on the bite The reef has been fishing quite well lately, with an abundance of species being caught. The usual suspects of coral trout, red-throat emperor and spangled emperor have been in terrific numbers around the reef edges and coral bommies.

Some brutal fighting green jobfish have been amongst the catches too, which are great fun to catch, and worthy for the table if you intend on boosting your protein and omega 3 intake.

Be sure to check the coral reef fin fish closures this month, you don’t want to be the one caught! Serious fines are in place for fishing illegally during this period.

During the reef closures a good idea this month would be to set out for a billfish. There are plenty around from around the islands right out to the outer reefs. Targeting the old ‘stickface’ can be boring for some, but once you have experienced the thrill of catching one you will most likely change your mind! A well-set pattern of skirts or baits trolled, is the ticket. Always keep an eye on your spread though as these cheeky buggers tend to rise out of nowhere, so you will often see the fish before it eats one of your offerings.

Spanish mackerel are still about in decent numbers out wide at the reefs and some trolled hardbodies and baits around the pressure points of the reef systems should see you hooking up to a few.

Around these pressure points some nice GTs have been battled with and boated. If you’re crazy enough to want to target this brute of a fish, you will find them on the aforementioned pressure points of the reefs, headlands and rocks where the bait is holding and current flow is substantial. Casting large poppers and stickbaits at the reef edges is the go, but make sure your gear is up to scratch or you and your pride will be scratched. We like to use minimum 80lb braid, 150-200lb mono leaders with our drags set to the “what was I thinking!” setting. Any looser and they will reef you in an instant.

The islands have been fishing well also with nannygai becoming more prevalent again, especially the small mouth nannygai. We should see them increasing in numbers around the islands and shoals this month, so when the weather allows, dropping a line for them is a must.

One way to get the partner to let you out is to bring home some succulent shellfish, and what better exoskeletal delicacy to bring home than a mudcrab! The numbers have been good around the local estuaries, so soaking a pot while having a fish is a good idea, or vice versa.

Salmon, grunter and barramundi have been intercepted while fishing the creeks and rivers, and are great fun to target on lighter gear. So if the wind is restricting you to head offshore, a great alternative is to head down to the local estuaries.

On that note, I am off to find myself a leave pass and hopefully a few mudcrabs. Good luck on the water.

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