Pulling ‘em past the sharks
  |  First Published: December 2016

Happy New Year! We made it through the silly season and hopefully made some resolutions to stick to. December was a bit of a mixed bag with all sorts of weather, though it was fantastic to see so many people out on the water last month lapping up the holidays, and hopefully relaxing a little before the year kicked off.

From all reports, it was a great finish to 2016. Most species found their way onto anglers’ hooks. One species that found their way many times was cobia. This is the usual time we see them make their appearance in the Whitsundays. They’re great fun no matter what type of angler you are. They also make for fair eating as well. We should still see them this month, so keep an eye out for them. If you think you have a shark on, take a second look, as cobia are often mistaken for sharks!

The sharks are out in force again and seem to be an ever-increasing issue around these parts, and all over Queensland waters. They never really stopped. Something needs to happen in regards to the massive increase in sharks up and down the coast, as they are a real problem. Unfortunately, that’s not a decision we can make.

It’s about time the decision makers pull their heads out of the sand, revisit and rethink. We should be implementing an educated control measure for sharks Australia-wide. But that’s just my opinion. For those out there who are fond of sharks, don’t jump the gun and launch into a fit of rage and explode your head – I’m not talking about mass murdering the whole population, just controlling numbers. After all, we control the pests that impact our produce on the land, don’t we?

The outer reefs have been fishing quite well with some ripper numbers of coral trout and red-throat emperor caught. Most fish have been of quality size as well. Fishing the reef edges and shallows has accounted for most fish with the humble old running ball sinker rig doing the damage.

Floating a pilly or live bait while fishing at the reefs is also a good idea, as some large Spanish mackerel have been lurking about too. These can be a great addition to your icebox at the end of the day. Remember, the larger fish could contain ciguatera poison. It’s a good idea to release the big ones to fight another day.

The deeper water fishing has been consistent. Quality nannygai, red emperor and goldband snapper have been caught on the deeper reefs and shoals. Make use of the smaller tides this month and you should be rewarded for your efforts. It is a good idea to move on once the sharks turn up, as you will only waste quality fish trying to land more.

If you don’t want to make the effort to travel out that far this month, the islands will be a great place to dart out for a fishing fix. The island staples of coral trout, sweetlip and snapper are in good numbers for those who are keen on taking a feed home, so you should see yourself with a brace of these guys if you try your luck in close.

For the pelagic warriors, there have been some nice-sized Spanish mackerel, GTs and billfish cruising the outer islands, so a well placed bait or artificial could see you rewarded this month. The black marlin and sailfish were hanging around for Santa last month with good numbers making a welcomed appearance. This month should see a few about still, so keep an eye out with your good eye.

The local estuaries should be ok this month, even after the flogging they got over the holiday break. Mangrove jack, salmon, grunter and muddies have all been reported in good numbers, with most techniques landing the fish. Be sure to watch your fingers and toes down amongst these estuaries, as some whopper crocodiles like to call it home too.

Good luck if you are heading out fishing this month. All the best for the New Year!

• If you’re interested in a game, sport or reef fishing charters around the Whitsundays, give Luke a call on 0429 724 822 or email --e-mail address hidden--

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