Having a ball out wide
  |  First Published: April 2004

OUR long hot summer has finally come to an end. We even had some unbearable times out at sea with no breeze at all, but that didn't stop the fish biting.

On the beach scene Teewah produced some real quality whiting south of the Cherry Venture. Most of these fish were caught late in the afternoon, which was a good time to fish away from the very hot sun. There were also a lot of dart caught, though these were small when compared with the whiting. On one of our Fishing Club days a couple of local boys weighed in some very big tailor that were caught at night in the same area where the quality whiting had been hooked during the day.

On the Rainbow Beach side the weed is still a menace to fishermen. I have never seen it hang around for so long, and never seen so many northerly winds to hold it there. Let's hope we get some different wind changes in the coming months.

Fishing in the Sandy Straits has been fairly average, with a few flathead picked up on the drift. Some whiting were hooked around the bottom end of Fraser Island, and golden trevally were taken at Inskip Point as the result of using livebait and being very patient.

Offshore, huge catches of spotted mackerel were taken on all of the close reefs. I did quite a few charters, with most trips bagging out quite early in the day. It was great fun watching these fish taking our baits right at the side of the boat (with the help of a bit of berley). There were also good numbers of cod taken on the close reefs, some of these fish were far too big to keep and were released back into the water. These big fellas were real suckers for live yellowtail scad.

Out on the wider reefs pearl perch have dominated the scene, which hasn’t been such a bad thing many of these fish hit the 4kg mark – and you certainly can't complain about the table quality of pearlies!

As the cooler weather arrives so does one of my favourite fish: snapper. I reckon there's no better fun than waiting for one of these fish to hit the bait. I'll be getting out my light lines, pea sinkers and fresh bait trying to track them down.

There are very reliable snapper grounds in close, in fact, some of the best is in the surrounding area of Wolf Rock. Unfortunately, there’s now a 1.2km radius closure to anglers around Wolf Rock under the new grey nurse shark legislation. This is a real shame, as it was handy to many people who can't travel too far.

In my 35 years of amateur and pro fishing, I’ve caught only a single grey nurse shark. It was back in 1973 and was about two feet long, and was caught in a dilly net while crabbing with my father. I believe your chances of hooking a grey nurse shark, particularly in daylight hours, are about the same as hooking King Neptune.

Not enough research has been done to back up this closure of Wolf Rock, and if these sharks are so endangered (and I have no doubt they are) a lot more research should be carried out. I believe Wolf Rock should be turned into a research zone where no-one, including recreational divers, should be allowed access. After thorough research has been conducted, and not just hearsay from a couple of amateur divers (who probably want the whole rock to themselves) I think results would find that fishermen have no impact on the grey nurse shark at all.

1) This cod was caught and released by Terry Smith on the charter boat Keely Rose.

2) Wayne and Josh Shadbolt caught these nice Spanish mackerel while fishing for spotted mackerel on the Keely Rose.

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