Amberjack antics
  |  First Published: December 2004

I hope everyone got through the festive season intact and that Santa bought you that new piece of fishing gear you wanted.

The weather pattern throughout November and early December was average at best, with limited chances to head offshore. I managed only a handful of charters, but the fishing was sensational. By far and away the best method was livebaiting the deep water.

Amberjack and yellowtail kings have been making up the bulk of the catch, and there have been some real brutes of amberjack about.

On a recent charter with regular customer Dave Hall, his mate Jamie O’Neill and his wife Yvonne we had a top session on some XOS amberjack. One fish Jamie landed pulled the sales down to 45kg and was weighed around 10 hours after being caught. That means the fish would have been very close to 50kg when it was first boated. Dave also landed big amberjack and kingies to 15kg and, not to be outdone, Yvonne boated a 12kg amberjack.

Thanks to the boys at Captain Bligh’s at Slacks Creek for weighing the fish as my scales weren’t even in the ballpark. About a week later one of John Palermo’s clients on Prime Mover also landed an amberjack around 40kg.

To break up the amberjack and kingies, there have been some quality pearl perch to 4kg on the 35s east of the bar. Along Shallow Tempest there have been a few good snapper and some horse yellowtail kings to 25kg. These are mostly north of the Tempest.

Small wahoo, yellowfin tuna and dolphinfish turned up in late November and should continue to build up in numbers and size over the coming months. Towing your favourite lures around Hutchies or the Sevens off Point Lookout is a good option for a feed of pelagics at present.

Remember the ridiculous fishing ban 1.2km around Flat Rock? Luckily you can still pick up some great fish just outside the exclusion zone towing high-speed lures around the rocky structures.

Schools of Spanish mackerel will show up in January, with the coffee rock along Moreton Island and The Group off Point Lookout being worth a troll. Towing livies or swimming gar is the way to go and, because most of the Spaniards will be up to 10kg, 10-15kg line is more than enough. Also, don’t go overboard on wire size as the fish get spooked by the thicker wire.

Early morning tide changes produce good bite periods, and if you can find the bait schools on the shallow reefs you’ll have given yourself the best chance.

Spotted and school mackerel are a welcome bycatch when targeting Spaniards. Along the front of Moreton Island we get a lot more school mackerel than spotties, but they give a good account for themselves once hooked and are the sweetest mackerel to eat.

For the die-hard bottom fishers, things start to slow down over the coming months. However, I have caught my biggest snapper in January and February so fishing on the Cathedrals south of Point Lookout will be worth the effort.

In November I ordered a new Haines Hunter 680 Patriot to run Outlaw Charters from, and I’ll take delivery later this month. The boat is 7.1m long with a walk-around deck and hard top and I’ve decided to power it with two 140hp Suzuki four-strokes. I’m looking forward to getting it on the water and putting some miles in. I’ll continue to use my original 680 Haines for charters until the new one comes on line, and the new owner will also continue to charter out of the original boat once he takes delivery of it.

Until next month, enjoy your fishing. If you’d like to join me on a charter (maximum 4 persons) give me a call on (07) 3822 9527 or 0418 738 750.


1) Jamie O’Neill struggles to hold up his 45kg amberjack.

2) Dave Hall with around 15kg of kingfish.

3) Yvonne O’Neill had a lot of fun landing this quality amberjack.

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