Welcome to the latest news from Stanage Bay, Shoalwater Bay, Percy Isles and surrounding islands. As per usual we will begin with the Stanage Bay Road, our big driveway. At the time of writing, it’s fair travelling. The first half of the road has a good smattering of large pot holes, but you can see them before you feel them if you are driving sensibly. From the Army turnoff to the Stanage grid, especially the cattle property Couti-Outi, the corrugation is consistent, small but rigid. Make sure your mudguards and wheel bearing maintenance is up to scratch before leaving home.
The estuary, Thirsty Sound has once again been a challenge to the visitors. There have been a few blue salmon on the northern side of Quail Island, and big bream in closer. Cod, flathead, tuskfish and parrotfish of all sizes have been caught near the wall off Quail Island and Pier Head. (History lesson: Pier Head was named by Captain Cook because, from the distance, the rock wall from Pier Head to Quail Island looked like a pier.)
The muddies, whilst big and full, have been on the slow side, and it will be interesting to see what happens during the winter months here at Stanage. There is a lot of hopeful anticipation for a big winter crab and barra season. Good winter seasons tend to happen every second year; we’ll get a slow summer followed by a good winter.
When it comes to offshore fishing, anglers have been making the most of the weather windows. We’ve had to suffer through a lot of wind, with the odd window of rippled glass for opportunistic anglers – and fingers crossed things will be better in June. There have been reports of good catches of grass sweetlip caught on squid, with mackerel and trevally taking lures. Unfortunately, the ocean has been very dirty since the cyclone, so everything living in it has been suffering, which causes anglers to suffer also!
As per usual we have huge catfish, which I believe to be the giant salmon catfish, going by Grant’s Guide to Fishes. They’re a table fish in some countries, but not Australia as we are too spoilt.
There is usually great fishing here in the winter months, both inside the estuary and offshore. At Shield Island you can expect to catch cobia (black kingfish), coral trout and Spanish mackerel. To the southeast, the neighbouring islands should yield an abundance of grassy sweetlip and nannygai, with a scattering of red-throat. Out a little further, off the Percys, it’s worth having a troll for mackerel. In closer at the northwestern side of Geoffrey, try for snapper and big black jew, grunter and threadfin salmon on the northern beach of Marble Island.
Lastly, please put aside a little extra cash to donate to the Stanage Bay QF24 Coastguard, in the small chance you may need them whilst visiting Stanage or surrounding islands and the Coral Sea. The VHF radio is manned from 6.35am until 9.30pm, seven days a week, so give them a call when you depart from the Plumtree boat ramp, and again when you return. You can also join as a free tow member for $66 per annum.
•Don’t miss out on the amazing fishing and crabbing at Stanage Bay! Call us at Stanage Bay Marine & Accommodation on (07) 4937 3145, check out www.stanagebay.com, email --e-mail address hidden-- or chat to like-minded Stanage Bay anglers at www.facebook.com/stanagebaymarine. We have good, affordable bait, ice, tackle, angler accommodation, boat and caravan storage (accommodation availability dates can change).Reads: 942