When this edition goes to print I’ll be at the Toyota Fraser Island Fishing Expo, hopefully seeing good weather and fishing, and having a few cold ales while sharing stories with the boys.
As much as I enjoy fishing in my own backyard (off Moreton and North Stradbroke Islands) fishing at locations such as Fraser Island is a real buzz. Finding new ground, chasing different species and the whole adventure of getting to fish the grounds off Fraser’s beach is a very enjoyable experience. If you get a chance to fish the area, take it with both hands.
During the competition, John Fadie, Bruce Grimmer and I will mainly target snapper and red emperor, but will probably encounter green jobfish, scarlet sea perch, red throat and spangled emperor, coronation trout and a wealth of other bottom species we rarely see around Brisbane. We will be doing our best to put a fish or two on the leader board, but if that doesn’t happen I’m sure we’ll have a great time trying.
Squire numbers are on the increase and reports have been coming in of some big catches from the Square Patch and Deep Tempest areas around the full moon. Over the next few months, large numbers of squire and trag jew will congregate at these locations and night fishing around the full moons using paternoster rigs will account for many fish.
In the past it used to be like the Queen Street Mall out there at night on the full moons, but with today’s bag limit of five snapper (35cm minimum) and five trag jew (38cm minimum) per person, the number of night fishers has dropped. A few hardy anglers still venture out around the full moon at night but most have reverted to float lining baits over the reefs during the day and are having little trouble catching their bag limits of better quality fish.
Trag jew also bite well during the day, especially if there is a bit of a north easterly wind blowing. Paternoster rigs work better for the trags than the float line. Spots for the trag jew include the 33s, Square Patch and Patch Tempest, but schools will turn up anywhere as they move around the reef.
Locations such as the 29, 33 and 35 Fathom reefs east of the South Passage Bar, Square Patch and Deep Tempest, and the Cathedrals off North Stradbroke will all produce good numbers of squire and snapper over the coming few months. These areas will produce even better fishing if we have some genuine cold snaps, as they will drop the water temperature a couple of degrees.
When chasing snapper, keeping it simple and sticking to the basics should catch you fish. Float lining is the go: use light sinkers right on top of a gang of 5/0 or 6/0 hooks, depending on the bait size. 15 or 20kg line is recommended and a small piece of lumo tube can be used between the sinker and hooks as an added attraction. Although some anglers are getting right into the braid, I still prefer monofilament for this style of fishing.
For the smaller snapper (squire), pillies and small strip baits of mullet, tailor or tuna work well. If larger snapper are your target, live slimies, yakkas and bigger fresh fillet baits will do the trick.
Be prepared to do some hunting around, as you’ll quite often find the fish away from the main structure or reef line. I’ve found fish holding on the reef edges on a number of occasions and having your sounder set up correctly and being able to read it properly will make all the difference. I use a Furono 582 colour unit, but the small 600C is also a very good.
Colour sounders make it easier for anglers to differentiate between fish schools and bottom structure and for that reason alone are much better for offshore work. With all the money thrown into offshore boats, putting the best sounder on the dash makes sense and will increase your results.
Amberjack and kingfish are becoming more active and the deep-water jiggers and live baiters should be in for good fishing this month. Late April and early May saw strong breezes and strong currents, so I expect the weather pattern to settle and more offshore fishing days to be available.
Until next month, take care on the water and the coastal bars. If you’d like to join me on a charter (maximum 4 persons) give me a call at Outlaw Charters on 0418 738 750 or (07) 3822 9527.
1) Murray Schneider with a high-fin amberjack from the 42s.
2) A typical double-header of squire for this time of year.
3) Chris Corfios with a solid amberjack from the 35s.Reads: 1986