The good news is the estuary fishing this month will probably be much the same as last month, with the exception of barramundi now off the list until February. The offshore fishing has been good with the latest run of doggies resulting in a fair amount of large fish captures compared to last year.
The dog mackerel reports were consistent with fish over 3kg. Doggies hit all the headlands, harbour walls and are the easiest to chase with small boats at spots such as Farnborough, Bangalee, Findlay’s, Ironpot, Double heads, Rita Mada, Wedge, Pelican and Quartz Rock.
Spaniards have also stayed strong in places like Flat, Perforated, Manifold and the wider shoals. In close, they are a little hit and miss.
Spotties hit many of the dog spots and Findlay’s is the pick in the north. Quartz at the bottom end of the bay has its moments and shark mackerel are likely to be there in large quantity. If you want a shark mackerel, Sykes Reef (behind South Keppel) is the choice location for starters.
The second lot of coral reef finfish closures begin 3-11 November and the fishery officers will be out in force to keep an eye on local boat ramps. Either stick to mackerel or estuaries to be on the safe side.
There is a full list of no take species on the DPI web site. http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/cps/rde/xchg/dpi/hs.xsl/28_3055_ENA_HTML.htm
Outside the closed periods, coral trout and red fish seem to be the order of the day. The deeper rubble patches just out behind the islands and right out to the shoals, have made it hard for the average fisher to go home empty.
Everyone seems to know what a red emperor is, but there is some confusion over what is a red jew.
Red jew is a local name for small and large mouth nannygai or saddle-tail sea perch and basically anything that looks similar to a red emperor but isn’t one. Popular opinion is that large mouth nannygai are better eating than the small mouth nannygai.
Large mouth range in behind the islands and out into fern country where there are massive schools of massive mixed with the odd rosy jobfish and snapper. The small mouths have been taken lately at places like Findlay’s, Liza Jane and The Pinnacles.
When night fishing for grunter up at The Pinnacles, we drift over the bigger structures to find the dips and trenches that the big grunter prefer to feed in. This normally produces redfish in the first part before reaching the grunter around the edges and trenches.
Coral trout remain a steady catch most of the time. The waters around the islands and the wider shoal country have a constant supply of top trout. The only thing knocking the population down around The Keppels is the amount of spear fishers, who’s numbers have been growing almost as quick as the trout.
One of the park lads has been using the biggest Squidgie in white to target red throats and is doing better than the live and dead baiters. He finds drifting and using short sharp jigs attracts not only red throats, but also trout and cod.
Lots of cobia have moved in from the wider reefs into the shallows around Findlay’s and Liza Jane. Some of the schooled cobes are huge and are haunting the boats, making it hard to get a bait past them. Pillies, livies and jigs all work well in the area.
The big offshore grunter have been a little hard to obtain on a regular basis, except for the period just before and just after the moon. Manifold had an exceptional run prior to the last moon and if previous years are anything to go by they should be in top form around the November moon. Other Spots worth a mention are The Rama, The Pinnacles and Cape Capricorn.
The weather plays a huge part in catching big grunter due to the location of the best spots getting the moon and the wind in the right quarter. Pillies, squid and flesh strips have the runs on the board and over the years we have had small periods of success with soft plastics.
In the local systems, the warm climate has amplified the quantity of small baitfish and subsequently increased the reports of estuary grunter captures. The Fitzroy is the home for large grunter whenever they are on. Connors Creek, Port Alma and Pirates Point are all firing.
Coorooman Creek, The Causeway Lake and Waterpark Creek also have large sized grunter, but fail to compete in numbers.
The popular baits have been prawns, fresh fillet strips and greenback herrings. Mangrove jack and fingermark are feeding actively in many of the areas waterways. Flathead, bream, salmon and muddies have kept the creek boys in tucker, while whiting and dart are the go up the beach and down around Long Beach.
The annual run of small school jew, approximately 250-300mm, has started. The juvenile black jew come up to Corbett and Kelly landing stretch of Waterpark Creek.
However, there are still quite a few people that mistake them for soapy jew. The main distinguishable difference is that the small black jew has two rows of spots or blotches along the dorsal fin and the tail has some small spots on the lateral line. The other difference is that river jew have a nose similar to a salmon. They are well and truly undersized so check your catch before putting it in the esky and better still don’t chase them at all.
Now that barramundi are off limits in the wild the only real option is the impoundments. We have a few within a couple hours drive and a few more within four hours of Rockhampton and Yeppoon. The closest is Awoonga and the size of these big fish just gets bigger.Reads: 2019