As another year begins, it’s time to reflect on 2006. I like to think about the great fishing trips I enjoyed during the year. I try hard to forget the miserable fishless ones!
Hopefully Santa was good to everyone and there are lots of shiny new reels and untried rods out there ready for a workout. After you have matched your reels to rods, load them with line. I usually load reels with pretty basic 12-20lb breaking strain mono. Over the top I lay 75m of braid, packed as tight as possible before any brand of good quality mono leader. When I buy braid I usually ask for advice at the tackle store.
I have found braid and gel spun lines to be great for lure casting and trolling although I have had a few knots fail, particularly main to leader knots. Some braided lines also have an outer casing that when damage, exposes a fine white core. Not good!
I recently had an experience that drove home the worth of a good knot or two. I was enjoying a late afternoon live baiting session for jacks that continued on well into the night. Five minutes at the most had elapsed since I cast my live offering into our chosen hole. I felt a tap, tap and then my livie was scoffed. The braid was running out and I was quickly down to the mono backing. Our vessel was anchored and tethered so it would have been very difficult to try and chase this determined foe. I eventually ended up with a big, fat, toothy mangrove jack in the boat. For a change all my knots held, and the big jack didn’t brick me in the mangrove roots, rocks, discarded crab pots, fallen trees and any number of possible cut off points. I won!
A few weeks earlier I was casting B52s the shallow bays up at Monduran Dam, three hours drive from home. The activity wasn’t exactly chaotic, possibly due to the cool weather and water. After several thousand casts I finally attracted the attention of a large barramundi. The 1m+ fish charged out from underneath a floating pontoon of logs to blast my lure off the surface. It began to violently headshake whilst swimming away from the boat. All I could do was hang on and hope as I was almost at lock up on 30lb braid and 60lb leader. After a very long and exhausting minute, the lure flew out of the brute’s mouth and drew a neat arc across the evening sky before plopping into the water on the other side of the small bay. This time I had lost!
The difference between success and failure can be a knot, a smidgen of luck or a bit of both. Whilst my knots had held fast in both battles, luck was on my side with the jack but not with the barra. Even if the hooks stayed in that big barra, I was surrounded by timber and the outcome probably would have been the same. I don’t know about anyone else, but I can use as much luck as I can get!
2006 has been the year of the snapper. They were the mainstay for all bottom bashers. The charter industry would be a lot tougher and many recreational fishers would have come home empty handed if the humble pinkies weren’t out in force. Reefs close to the Noosa bar always cop a flogging but still manage to deliver good snapper. Snapper are prone to moving around but they always return.
Cobia were another fishing saviour in 2006. In fact, on several occasions they were a pest as anglers could not get a bait to the bottom without hooking another 20kg cobe. A first-rate problem in my book!
Local and visiting anglers will be hoping for big runs of mackerel and tuna in January. Anglers should try trolling Laguna Bay and the reefs both north and south. Large chrome minnows should work well. Cubing is also very effective and slug casting can also be a great way to catch a few tuna when they are on the hunt.
In the river the humble flathead manages to keep anglers coming back year round. I often wonder how they sustain themselves under such immense pressure. I suppose the 70cm maximum size limit has a lot to do with it as these big henfish deliver plenty of eggs. Many locals release flathead over 60 centimetres whilst others take their limit of fish to 69.9cm.
The mighty mangrove jack will be terrorise anglers regularly during the warmer months. Those that fish fresh baits or livies for lizards are likely to tangle with a cunning and brutish jack at some stage. Close to structure they can destroy any gear in seconds and out in the open they can run a long way looking for line cutting shelter. Sometimes you need that slice of luck in your pocket to land these fish! Many locals release all the jacks that they catch in this system as they are far too valuable to kill.
I wish you all a successful and happy 2007. For those who want to go boating in Noosa River, take the time to investigate the new speed restrictions and stay safe.
Thanks to everyone who kindly sends me snippets of information, interesting stories and photos of their fishing exploits – much appreciated!Reads: 950