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New artificial reef shows silver lining
  |  First Published: July 2016



It’s nice to think there may be a ‘silver lining’ for the small coastal town of 1770 after the recent serious marine incident.

The Spirit of 1770, the local tourist boat that travels to Lady Musgrave Island, caught fire and sank after an engine room fire – no injuries or lives lost. Divers took video of the wreck and it shows a huge amount of intact aluminium, some superstructure and most of the hull. This will soon attract marine growth and become a home for huge estuary cod, other reefies and the usual schools of trevally circling above. It’s 16.5nm from 1770 on sandy bottom at 38m deep, well away from any coral reef, so a couple of years and we will have another excellent place to fish.

The Spirit of 1770 joins other local trawler wrecks Cetacea, Shannon and Barcoola. These wrecks are consistently producing good quality fish. However, in early June there were some rumours doing the rounds that the authorities may attempt to salvage the tourist boat.

Navigating 1770

Winter inshore snapper and grunter fishing at night are popular this time of year, so the newcomer to our area needs to know how to safely navigate back into 1770 in the dark.

1770 Headland has a white flashing beacon that can be seen 10 miles out to sea. Coming in from seaward this light is approximately 30m high on the 1770 Headland at the entrance to 1770’s creek known as Round Hill Creek.

Approaching this light from sea, keep it to your port, and switch on a spot light when it appears close to pick up the large green starboard floating marker, which is not lit. Proceed with caution staying closer to the green starboard marker, and you will safely enter Round Hill Creek.

Fishing

Winter was late with our first cold snap on the last days of May. The Spanish mackerel were about in numbers on South Bustard and on the wide reefs. Cobia, aka ‘Wagyu of the sea’, were caught on the reefs and wrecks. A slab of mullet or fresh large fillets scored some nice specimens.

Yellowtail king will be more prolific on the deep wrecks now as the weather cools down but even though these fish are both called kingfish, cobia leaves the yellowtail for dead as far as a quality table fish goes.

July is the month for snapper on the close reefs, especially on dusk and at night. For those venturing to the shelf the snapper and quality red emperor should be your targets. Cuttlefish heads or squid are great baits for these fish and on the close reefs fish a floating bait with running ball sinker. Snapper love to pick up natural looking bait and feel no weight resistance from a sinker.

The reefs in July will produce quality sweetlip, parrot, trout and red emperor in the deeper water. Hussar or baldy iodine bream fillets are great bait for these prize catches.

Round Hill Creek has been alive with huge schools of herring so bring a cast net as they are excellent reef bait. I caught by PB red emperor of 17.5kg on a single large herring between Fitzroy and Llewellyn reefs.

These huge schools of silver herring are easy fresh bait, and if you are fishing with frozen bait you are throwing money away. A cast net is all you need to catch these bait. Remember the fish will always choose what is living in their environment to feed on and if you offer the same feed you will catch fish.

Stay at 1770 Camping Ground right on the beach at 1770, and for your local fishing advice call Tony or Josh Lunn at Agnes Water 1770 Bait & Tackle, phone (07) 4974 9304.

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