March is a gun month for chasing surface speedsters east of the South Passage Bar and everything is pointing to 2006 following the same path.
The couple of weeks of southeasterly breezes experienced in late January and early February pushed a line of bluewater full of bait in close to Moreton Island, followed by hungry predators.
Although there are fewer fishable days when the southeasterlies blow, the fishing is generally better on those days you can sneak out with the bluewater currents holding the bait and what’s chasing it in close.
In late January I had a couple of good mackerel sessions while working the coffee rock area along the front of Moreton Island. Slowly trolling livies produced most of the fish and mixed bags of Spaniards, spotties and schoolies were all keen to eat baits.
Finding the bait lately has taken a bit more effort than finding the fish; some days we’ve had to do quite a bit of running around to find quality bait. Most of the slimies and yakkas have been small, so if you’re into working livies make sure you match your hook size to the bait. The old saying ‘You catch more fish at home’ is very true, especially if mackerel are your target.
Make sure you have different rigs that cater for all the different fishing situations you may face on the day. Whether it’s having a few smaller rigs made to cater for the size of the bait or having a few extra rigs made in case of a few bust-offs, the speed you can get baits back into the water is often the difference between having a good or a bad day.
Mackerel often bite best around a tide or weather change or first thing in the morning, so being prepared will put you in good position to take advantage of the hot bite period. Mackerel rigs can be messy in tackle boxes so I find using a zip-lock bag or a coin bag a neat way to keep your rigs separate. Identify them easily by labelling them clearly.
Some days when I find the school or spotty mackerel are on the chew, I’ll troll pillies on a gang of three 5/0s with a little lead on the front hook to act as a keel so the pillie tows straight. There are plenty of pre-made rigs but it’s simple to make your own by using lead solder or sheet lead wrapped around the top of the hook. I also place my gang hooks in the back of the pillies as this stops them from breaking up as easily as they do when rigged with the hooks placed in the underside.
When towing livies I idle, but when towing pillies I step up the speed to 3-4 knots so that the weighted pillies don’t get attacked by rubbish fish if it gets too close to the reef in close to Moreton Island.
March should the numbers and size of Spanish mackerel and wahoo increase, so if you get the chance get on the water and get those reels screaming.
Reef fishing in March is still a bit hit and miss due to the strong currents out wide but you can still get a good feed of reefies on the shallow grounds around Point Lookout if you put the time in to your fishing.
This time of year also sees the coastal bar become more dangerous as the swell spick up from the east so take that extra bit of care and keep clear when they are really standing up.
Enjoy your fishing and if you’d like to join me on charter (maximum 4 persons), give me a call at Outlaw Charters on (07) 3822 9527 or 0418 738 750.Reads: 536