Winter fishing has shaped up to be fantastic this season. The weather has settled down with less wind and far better boating conditions for all. Windows of opportunity have widened out considerably compared to the warmer months.
Rock Cod Shoals are fishing extremely well. Throughout the cooler months, boaties need to place themselves in the deeper waters around the southern end of the area. Even though a shoal is classified as generally 11m or less, this expanse houses some deeper areas of 20+.
Nine times out of ten, drifting will out-fish an anchored boat. I’ve caught fish on the drift while anchored boats caught very little and not much of value. So what are we catching out there? Some nice red emperor are showing up, nannygai and some great cod. On a recent trip, my brother Troy was astounded at the size of stripies and big Moses perch. They were pulling into the boat using whole cuttlefish, and were also bringing good numbers of redthroat at 50cm and bigger.
Squid are populating around the Shoals. Both night and day are producing fairly sized specimens, and some happy fishos are enjoying fresh calamari on the table. Have a jig running out the back of the boat while drifting, even if this isn’t your target for the trip. It makes a decent by-catch.
Erskine Island and Masthead are fishing well for coral trout and the odd red, but the deeper waters out near the shelf are the best place for targeting red emperor. Big snapper are loving the deep as well. The Narrows and Grahams Creek are fairly predictable. They are fishing well at night and some lovely winter barra are in these areas, hitting large soft plastics in darker colours.
Firing at present in our harbour and estuaries, blue salmon are hitting lines in all areas. Peeled prawns are a popular option for bait, but with the systems housing good schools of herring keep a cast net handy. Mulloway are coming on the chew in the harbour. In deeper holes and around the pylons throughout the rivers, fish are up to 20kg, caught using fresh mullet. Use whole or stripped mullet, heavily weighted on 7.0 hooks. Night is presumed best and bottom of the tide is worth a crack.
Now is prime time to be targeting snapper and the big Spanish mackerel that we see at this time of year. Snapper are biting very well in the deep water and they will be found around the 12-mile up Rundle Island way. Anywhere in between is good for trolling or floating baits for Spanish.
Our Facebook group, Gladstone Fishing Network, had its first social fishing competition, with all proceeds going to the local VMR. We were very impressed with the support we received and the fish that were weighed in. We got great support from sponsors such as Curtis Coast Marine, ELKAT Australia and local lure makers Happy Rock Plastics and Eden Lures. We are going to make this an annual event to support the fishing community and those that support us, so here’s huge shout out to everyone who supported and participated. It was a great weekend!
Terrin Sharpe caught this awesome mulloway on Happy Rock soft plastics in purple.
Terrin has a great catch at night.
Shawn Walters with a nice pick-up – the salmon are fairly thick and make a good target!
Melissa Brookes with her hefty cod from Rock Cod Shoals.
Dan and Steve with a nice catch to weigh in for the competition.Reads: 950