At the time of writing this report, our much-needed heavy rain hasn’t turned up yet; we’ve only had a few days of showers thanks to a southeast change which gave a little relief. Hopefully, we will have had some decent rain by the time you read this.
The weed is still a problem on both Rainbow and Teewah beaches, and this is a great shame as there are plenty of nice summer whiting around and some quite large dart in deeper gutters. Clear patches still appear but you need a 4WD to access them.
Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island have had seaweed problems for as long as I can remember, but the El Nino cycle definitely aggravates the situation. Lack of rain, southeast trade winds and rapid rises in water temperature are the perfect catalyst for this. Rainbow Beach cops it the worst because it faces north, and strong sea breezes put the weed at our feet.
Mangrove jack have been active, with some good catches coming out of Kauri and Teebah creeks. Live poddy mullet are the way to go.
Nice flathead are also getting caught in those creeks on live poddy mullet, but if you want to specifically target flatties I’d use soft plastics instead of bait. I've always been a fan of live natural baits, but I’m a plastics convert when it comes to flathead fishing. I have caught heaps of flathead on plastics, and seen other fishos really clean up with plastics, too. Flathead are also present around Carlo Point and the Bottom end of Fraser Island.
Spotted mackerel and the odd Spanish mackerel are being caught around Big Mick beacon and further up near the bluff on the inside of Fraser Island. Livebait on a balloon has been tricking the Spaniards, and small Wonder Wobblers are working on the spotties.
Wind and currents have seen most boaties fishing fairly close of late.
Pearl perch are the flavour of the month. Myself and other local operators have bagged out on quite a few occasions on close reefs. There are a lot of undersize pearlies amongst these large schools, which is typical in close, so extra bait is needed. Just remember that the bag limit is only five and the minimum size is 35cm. Be careful about taking fish at 35cm as well because they, like all fish, shrink by up to 1cm when they are put on ice. I'm not sure how you would stand if you were inspected by a Fisheries officer with a fish that was “35cm a few hours ago”.
Among other fish being caught in close are some quality parrot, Moses perch and squire. Cobia are very active, and any sort of livebait has been nailing some pretty big ones around 20-30kg.
Spotted mackerel have finally come offshore to play, and a recent trip I did saw big numbers of some 4-5kg specimens. They were a little fussy, taking only moving baits (trolled pilchards) but that will change as we get further into the season.
I've done very well in January over the past few years, particularly on spotted and Spanish mackerel, and mack tuna. Pearl perch and scarlet sea perch will probably be the best bottom-dwellers to target in this month.
Rainbow Beach gets very busy with holiday visitors in January, so here are a few tips if you are planning a holiday here.
1. Go fishing as early as possible to avoid mayhem at the boat ramps.
2. If you are boating make sure you are registered, have all safety gear on board and are licensed to drive a speed boat as there will be extra police and Fisheries officers on duty.
3. Get a copy of legal size and bag limits of all species of fish. Ignorance won’t save you from a fine.
Cheers and Happy Holidays.
Ed Falconer’s charter business, Keely Rose Reef Fishing Charters, makes regular trips to the reefs off Rainbow Beach. If you’d like to go on a trip with Ed you can contact him on 0407 146 151.
1) Rainbow Beach Fishing Club members [L-R] Doug Petersen, Craig Splatt, Lionel Lund and Dave Tardrew with spotty mackerel and an 11kg bluefin tuna.
2) Cedric Byrne with a tailor around the 2.5kg mark.Reads: 791