September snapper
  |  First Published: September 2006

I recently fished the Rainbow Beach Family Fishing competition for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed it. The comp is family oriented with reef and beach/estuary divisions for us big kids and a junior division as well. The prize money on offer isn’t as big as some of the other comps but the quality of the day prizes is very good, with sponsors such as Mitsubishi, Jarvis walker/Penn, Navman, Bundaberg Rum and more all putting up quality gear.

The social side is the main drawcard though, and it’s great that an event like the Rainbow Beach comp places so much emphasis is on family participation.

I fished the comp with my mate Ken McGrogan and the plan was to target snapper and then look for a red or two. On Day One we headed to a spot around 40km east of the bar; I had caught good snapper the last time I had fished there back in 1997. Sure enough, in no time we were close to our bag limit, with fish ranging from 2-5kg. We kept catching and releasing good quality squire, hoping for a bigger fish, but it wasn’t to be.

On Day Two we had Ken Leiseman from Jarvis Walker/Penn on board and we decided to chase pearl perch. Ken’s brother was good enough to point us in the direction of a few pearlie spots and, after hunting around for a while, we got onto a hot bite. We got plenty of 3-4kg fish but nothing larger. Then we headed back to my snapper ground for a similar result, with no XOS fish. A good day’s fishing though, just the same.

Day Three the weather and swell moved in so we put our feet up for the rest of the week. That day a boat went over on the bar, proving how careful you need to be playing around coastal bars.

The bad weather meant that only a few more good fish were caught, so I managed to finish second in the pearl perch section with one that went 3.3kg gutted and gilled.

Ken and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and I’m sure I’ll fish the comp again next year.


A forum was recently held at the Cleveland Sands Hotel so anglers could voice their opposition to the proposed closures to large sections of Moreton Bay and surrounding areas (up to 80% of the Bay including all the islands – apparently!). The forum was attended by politicians and members of the fishing industry as well as the general public, with speakers discussing the proposed closures and the effect they would have on businesses and on ordinary anglers. The state government has these closures high on the agenda and is under pressure by the environmental lobbies to shut down these areas, most likely after the state election next year.

Flat Rock, Wolf Rock and Henderson Rock were closed after little or no consultation, and now we’re set to lose even more. It’s up to us to spread the word and let others know. The local branch of The Fishing Party, which is led by Shane Boese from Water Tower Bait & Tackle, is doing what it can, but it needs our support. You can purchase membership for as little as $22, and more information is available at www.fishingparty.com.au.

The Bay should be protected with sensible speed limits in dugong/turtle areas, like those already in force in some parts of the bay, and appropriate bag/size limits. Shutting people out is nothing more than a political tool to appease the Greens.


There have been good snapper and squire east of the South Passage and up on Wide Caloundra. We haven’t had many chances to fish though, due to the very ordinary weather we’ve had during July and the beginning of August.

September usually sees good weather and fishing, and the snapper should be in full swing. There have also been good numbers of juvenile cobia around. If you find them on the chew they will commit suicide en masse, so only take enough for a fresh feed.

I’m back talking at the Brisbane Boat Show this year so if you get a chance, come and say g’day.

Until next month, take care on the coastal bars and if you would like to join me on a charter (max. 4 persons) give me a call on (07) 3822 9527 0418 738 750.


1) 8kg of Wide Caloundra snapper.

2) The boys from Marburg with part of a great haul of snapper from Wide Caloundra.

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