Another year is about to pass us by but it certainly has been an interesting one for anglers. The intended E.P.A closures to both Moreton Bay and offshore waters are worrying everyone but hopefully the E.P.A uses some commonsense and places these zones where they will have minimal effect on the users of both foreshores and waterways. I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in a few meetings with the E.P.A and the Moreton Bay Alliance stakeholders. Hopefully the alternative areas we’ve proposed will have far less impact on the boating and fishing public compared to what was originally proposed – and what would have a disastrous effect for boating and fishing.
On the fishing front, late October and early November saw some red-hot squire and snapper fishing east of the south passage. The worst time seems to be 8:15am when we having been only bagging 25 fish. Most of the fish were in the 1-3kg bracket, but some days we’d get a few fish around 4-5kg and the best was a good fish of 8.5kg. The fish were coming out of around 65m and although the current was raging, we were still floating with a four or five bail sinkers above two ganged 6/0 and a pillie.
Mixed in with the squire was the odd yellowtail and black king just to make things interesting. There have also been huge schools of bait offshore, mostly pillies, and this all looks good for the upcoming pelagic season. Only a few small wahoo have been caught to date, but with the amount of bait around late November and early December we should see that change and they should be in good numbers like they were this time last year.
For the marlin fisher, all the talk around is about a good season ahead. They’ve had a fairly average season in North Queensland and traditionally when that’s happened we’ve had a good season in the South East. There have been plenty of kings and amberjacks hitting our jigs of late, but sharks are still giving us a hiding and it’s an effort to get even one fish to the boat. The sharks are as bad as I’ve seen them for a number of years and with the amount of bait and fish around at present, I don’t think they’ll be going anywhere for a while.
On one recent trip, after we caught our limit of squire and snapper, we headed out wide for a quick jigging session before heading home. On our third drift over a pinnacle in 80 meters we had a double hook-up on XOS fish. Both these fish were peeling 80lb braid like there was no tomorrow and I knew we were in trouble. The first fish got sharked about a minute into the battle and I could see by the action of the rod that the other fish was also being hit. We managed to get what was left of the second fish – an estimated 25kg yellowtail kingfish, although there was only the head and several inches of flesh left. Three bronze whalers about 8-9ft chased what was left all the way to the boat. We didn’t drop another jig down, as I’m not one for feeding sharks.
Good options for December include snapper and squire with Shallow Tempest well be worth a look (we got reasonable numbers up until mid-December last year). Out wide, kingfish, samson and amberjack are producing well on jigs and livies when current permits. Hutchinson Shoal, the Trench and around Point Lookout will definitely be worth a troll for wahoo but keep your lure size relevant to the size of fish, with most early in the season being under 10kg.
I’m heading to Hinchinbrook for Christmas and most of January with my family and I’m looking forward to catching up with my old mate Carl Stokes and his wife Deb at Muddys restaurant. If you’re up that way, drop in to Muddys for a top feed of seafood or a steak – I can certainly recommend it. I’ll also be chartering out of Port Hinchinbrook for the last week of December and throughout January so if you’d like to target coral trout, red trout or red emperor give me a call and come do a charter or two on the barrier reef.
I’d like to wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year and please take that extra bit of care on the road and water over the festive season.
If you’d like to join me on a charter (maximum of four people) give me a call on (07) 3822 9527 or 0418 738 750. Merry Christmas!Reads: 1963