Summer Fun on Jacks
  |  First Published: December 2002

THE SHOCKING weed problem I wrote about last month seems to be a little better, but fishing is still very difficult at the time of writing. Hopefully the New Year will produce conditions that will clear our beaches and waterways and make visiting the beach a more pleasant experience.


Cedric Byrne and Gary Enkleman fished during the night on a recent club weekend. They worked very hard for their fish, having to clear the line of weed at every retrieve, but they still managed some reasonable whiting and excellent tailor.

A few whiting have been caught at Inskip and Double Island Point, but the weed has obviously put a lot of people off. During January you can expect to catch whiting, dart and golden trevally off the beaches. Fish at Double Island Point for these species if you have the necessary experience and skills to do so safely.


A young local named Matthew McIlroy is an avid fisherman and is often on the water with his father. On the last fishing club weekend he displayed great maturity and a concern for the environment that many people should learn from. Whilst fishing in the Straits, Matthew landed a beautiful flathead. He brought it in earlier than usual and found some fishing club members at the pub (surprise, surprise). They measured his flathead, which was a healthy 730mm, and Matthew then successfully released it.

To rub it in to his fellow club members even more, he turned up later in the afternoon with a mangrove jack that weighed just under 2kg. Well done Matthew!

During January the odd flathead might still be available and mangrove jack will certainly be a popular target. These fish do make excellent eating, but they’re far too much fun to be caught only once! Consider taking a photograph and releasing your fish.

January should see a few pelagics cruising the waters inside the bar. If you enjoy high speed spinning or trolling in more protected water, good luck!


The last few Spanish mackerel seasons have been disappointing, and many boaties are hoping that the Spaniards will make a long-awaited appearance this year. In local waters, Spaniards are generally worth targeting after Christmas, so January will hopefully see anglers connected to some of these great sportfish. One of these large fish feeds an average family for a long time, so please take only what you need.

Spotted and school mackerel should be around at this time of year, and a few have already been taken out the front of Rainbow and just outside the bar. In years past I’ve found that the waters between Double Island Point and Wolf Rock are quite productive. The mackerel populations have been depleted drastically over the last couple of years, so it will be interesting to see how many fish take up temporary residence.

The weekends have been quite windy of late, but reef fish have been taken by anglers lucky enough to fish midweek. Mixed bags of pearlies, sweetlip and squire are being taken, along with the odd large cobia. Lionel Lund recently landed a very large cobia, and large fish such as these are worth targeting on the inshore reefs using live bait. Unfortunately (depending on your point of view), you will catch quite a few mack tuna using the same method.

Last January I caught a few dolphin fish (mahi mahi) and I’ll be keen to do this again. They’re fun to catch and quite nice on the plate.

All the very best for the New Year!

1) Mangrove jack caught by Matthew McIlroy in Straits.

2) Tailor caught by Cedric Byrne and Gary Enkleman.

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