The weather gods finally started to play nice and we had a few decent breaks in the normal constant blow throughout March. Those that were lucky enough to get out were rewarded with great catches of redthroat emperor, which have been in plague proportions over the past few months. Even the closer, more pressured reefs have been producing solid fish in good numbers.
The boats that have been heading wider to Habberfield, Broomfield, Sykes and Wistari have been scoring bigger numbers and better size fish with a little more variation thrown into the esky. Trout have been biting hard in all depths of water, from only a couple metres deep right out to the 100m line.
Maori cod seem to be everywhere at the moment, with just about everyone I’m speaking to landing a few every trip. Traditionally, if you land a few of these guys you’re on good ground that isn’t very pressured. Lately they seem to be popping up everywhere.
Stickbaits over the shallows have once again been producing big trout, redthroat, cod, GTs and Spanish mackerel. Westin Swims, Maria Loaded, Shimano Ocea Pencils, Nomad Madscads and Riptides have been doing the damage.
Red emperor have been hit and miss recently, which isn’t unusual for this time of year. Anglers that did manage good catches were generally in the deeper water around 60-70m and closer to the new moon. On a recent trip out wide we planned to spend the day fishing the deeper water for reds. Unfortunately, a 15 knot westerly and a big run made that a little more difficult than expected. We still managed to bag a few and mark some exciting new ground for next time when the conditions suit a little better.
The highlight of the trip was a solid coral trout and tomato rockcod on slow pitch jigs in 70m of water. The low light period would have been when I decided to jump overboard to get some good underwater shots of a nice red only to see my wrist strap break on the camera and watch it plummet 70m to the bottom. So there’s no underwater shot in this month’s write up!
In the estuaries, barra are still feeding well. Reports of 10 in a session haven’t been uncommon. There have been some really big fish in amongst those catches. One of the biggest for the season came from the Gladstone Marina. Cortney Meiers landed his PB at 123cm only a stone’s throw from the shop, which is great to see.
The Calliope and Boyne rivers have been fishing well, with a lot of smaller fish being landed from the both. The Narrows on the neaps has been firing as per usual. Plenty of grunter, jacks, golden snapper and barra have been reported.
In the harbour the mulloway are still thick when conditions allow. The top and bottom of the tide when the run slows is the best time. Good fresh squid or cuttlefish seem to be the standout baits, and use good quality gear. The last thing you want when fighting one of these brutes is gear failure.
The dam is fishing well for smaller fish. The odd bigger barra is popping up. At the moment the standard seems to be around 50-60cm. Topwater is fishing extremely well at the moment with the Storm Arashi Topwalkers doing the damage. When the fish are sitting deeper, deep diving hardbodies like the Yakamito Sirens are working well and bigger plastics like Happy Rock Softies, Castaics and Lunker Citys stand out.
The crabs are still very hit and miss. There’s the odd report of a good feed coming back. Most of the time it’s one or two a trip. Until we get some decent rain, don’t expect this to change. Most of the crabs that have been getting around have been pretty poor quality. When they’re not full they taste ordinary and it’s not worth the effort to get the meat out of them. Do yourself a favour and let them go until they full up.
• For more information on what’s biting, or to stock up with all the tackle and bait you need, drop into LJ’s Compleat Angler Gladstone at the Gladstone Marina on Bryan Jordan Drive. You can also check out the latest news, photos and specials at Facebook Compleat Angler Gladstone.Reads: 107