The Fraser Island Fishing Expo is over for another year and the boys and myself had a great time as usual. Toyota put on a great event and is currently in negotiation with the authorities for future years.
The weather for this year’s competition wasn’t very kind, with only a few half decent days available for boaties to wet a line, but there were still some good catches made.
Day One saw 15 to 20 knot winds greet us from the southeast, pushing up a couple of metres of swell. A long trip was out of the question, but we still ended up 40km down the island at one of my shallow marks in 30m of water. We put in a fairly big day, getting back to Waddy Point around 5pm with a quality bag of fish, but not the big ones we were looking for. We boated red emperor to 10kg, scarlet sea perch to 7kg, some large cod and spangled emperor, and other assorted reefies. We lost several large fish to sharks and were dusted up on the reefs by some monster fish. That just fuelled the fire to go and do battle the next day.
Day Two blew 20 to 25 knots from the southeast so we had the day off. The forecast for Day Three was for 15 knot winds, but when we cleared Waddy Point the remnants of the previous day’s weather saw 2m-plus swell pushing up and the conditions were interesting to say the least. We pushed on and made it down to where we’d caught good snapper in previous years, but had no luck. We caught scarlet sea perch and some other quality reefies, but not the right species. The sea was slowly settling down so we travelled about 10km to another location around midday and we found the squire on the chew. We could have bagged out in under 30 minutes, but the fish were all small with the biggest pushing 3kg.
Mid-afternoon we went back to our favourite patch of reef to see whether the snapper had turned up. We’d already put in a couple of sessions without any luck, but this time on the first drop we hooked into a squire. This was a good sign. We fished the reef the rest of the afternoon for some quality fish, but still no prize winners. The biggest snapper we landed was 4.6kg, but it was big enough for us to hang onto third place for the week in the testing conditions.
Day Four was again supposed to be a 15 knot day, but this was quickly upgraded to 25 knots of southeasterly. We changed plans and headed around the North Gardners to chase a wahoo or Spanish mackerel. Before the weather closed out the fishing we managed a couple of Spanish mackerel around 11kg, which didn’t even come close to bothering the leaders.
Day Five and Day Six had strong southerlies blowing so we put the feet up and relaxed for a bit, then got the gear ready for the trip home.
Even with the bad weather some class fish were landed by the boaties. The biggest red emperor went 16.4kg, red-throat emperor went 4.7kg, green jobfish 11kg-plus, snapper 6.4kg, wahoo 21kg-plus and a beaut 4kg-plus parrot.
The event was a huge success with minimal impact on the environment. As always, the anglers and organisers left the island in a cleaner state than when they came, a credit to Toyota. From the anglers I talked to, it appeared everyone had a great time and they are already looking forward to next year.
Pearl perch have been caught in good numbers on a couple of recent charters. One trip we caught our bag limit without too much trouble. Squire numbers are on the increase and there have been some good catches from the Cathedrals off North Straddie.
Closer in along Moreton island there have been some large longtail tuna and the odd late-season Spaniard for the surface fishers.
Until next month enjoy your fishing and take care on the coastal bars. If you’d like to join me on a charter (maximum 4 persons), give me a call on 0418 738 750 or (07) 3822 9527.
1) My Fraser crew, Bruce Grimmer and Jon Fadie, with scarlet sea perch, spangled emperor and small-mouth nannygai.
2) Wesley Walker with 4kg of pearl perch from the 35s.Reads: 656