SOME much-needed rain fell in the local area just after Christmas, and hopefully this will be backed up with normal rainfall patterns throughout 2003. Apart from the obvious benefit to our farmers, good rainfall is important for a healthy marine ecosystem.
At the time of writing there have been catches of a few mack tuna, northern bluefin tuna and spotty mackerel around Big Mick. Sand whiting have been caught over the sand banks as well.
A few golden trevally will be active in the Straits during February, and some quality fish are taken each year. My brother Stephen caught a 12kg fish at Big Mick a couple of years ago on a pillie dangled directly under the boat, so if you target these fish using live bait in the same area you could do well. Beach fishermen regularly catch goldens along Inskip Point, so it’s worth hunting along this stretch or over on the Fraser side. You can also encounter other pelagics such as tuna and mackerel in the same area.
The other fish worth targeting in February is the mangrove jack. These fish seem to be abundant in the creeks and provide good sport. My kids are really keen to catch a jack so I took them up Teebar Creek recently. It turned out to be a very quick and unproductive trip because I’d forgotten the insect repellent!
Mud crabs have been quite active recently, and my neighbour, Greg McIlroy, has been catching plenty lately. He won’t let me get specific about his hot spot, but creeks abound in the southern straits and if you study a map you should come up with a plan of attack. After some heavy rainfall you’ll find the mud crabs in far more accessible areas, such as the entrances to the creeks. February is a good month to score a feed of muddies.
Sand crabs are also worth chasing in February. I’m not a very successful crabber but I have caught these in Pelican Bay and the entrances to Teebar and Carlo Creeks. I’ll have to get the dillies out more often this year because the kids love any reason to get in the boat (and my wife loves a crab dinner).
Weed has continued to cause trouble for beach anglers, particularly north of Double Island Point, but the quality of fish taken has been outstanding. Cedric Byrne and Gary Enkleman weighed in several bream and tarwhine over 1kg and tailor to 3kg on the last club weekend. The quality of the fish these gentlemen catch is amazing, proving that skill and knowledge are the vital ingredients to consistent catches. These two anglers take the time to gather their own fresh bait, and they fish at night in gutters they have studied during the day. If you’re one of the many people that fish during the heat of the day with frozen bait, consider modifying your approach; you might be pleasantly surprised!
During February whiting should still be available in the surf, along with the odd bream and tailor and the ever-reliable dart.
It can be difficult to bottom-bash offshore in February because of the strong current, but you can still have a great day on the water and score an acceptable feed. A February trip is often calm in the morning and hot during the day, which usually results in a moderate to strong north-easterly sea breeze. I usually head out in a northerly direction so that the trip home is more bearable.
Mackerel have been about, and you can take good catches of spotty and Spanish mackerel just outside the bar. The close-in reefs also provide mackerel and the opportunity to supplement your catch with the odd squire and sweetlip. Travelling a little further to the five- and six-mile reefs should also see a few pearl perch. There are, of course, plenty of wider reefs to try, but your success depends on the current.
Spanish mackerel should be in full swing this month around ‘Wolf Rock’ and ‘The Pinnacles’. If you choose to fish this area, please be considerate to other fishermen and give them a wide berth. This will ensure that you don’t cut trolling lines and cause heated arguments.
In a previous article I referred to the proposed fishing restrictions around Wolf Rock, and this remains a hot topic at Rainbow Beach. Several people are dedicated to banning all fishing for a radius of 500 metres around the rock to somehow protect the grey nurse sharks that aggregate in the area. The proposed ban does not include banning dive boats to anchor in the same area. Divers would be free to swim with the sharks while fishing boats cannot come within 500 metres. If you want to voice your opinion, please write to Councillor Peter Cantrell, care of the Rainbow Beach Post Office.
1) The close-in reefs have been delivering plenty of mackerel lately, along with the odd squire and sweetlip like this one.Reads: 1193