It’s been a mild winter so far, making for some pleasant night fishing, and I have been lucky enough to sneak out a few times with some great winter weather.
Plenty of snapper are about, along with a few nice red emperor and some good sweetlip. I had a great trip with Geoff Beyer on the artificial reef of the Elliot recently, and we got into some nice snapper on fresh big squid. I also got to break in my new 4kg Angler Stealth spin rod on a very decent sweetlip that took a floating squid. I got the rod to flick big plastics for jacks, and after testing its stopping power on the sweetie I’m looking forward to some warm weather to get the jacks moving.
The Burnett has been producing some horse bream including a 43cm specimen to a local fishing at night off Kirby’s Wall. The local plastic fishers have been getting good bags throughout the system, and the good old reliable 3” Berkley Power Minnow has been the pick of the plastics. There have been some flathead caught as well, especially around the mouth of the river. If you are going to target flathead, upgrade to the 4’’ plastics. The bigger baits attract the better quality fish.
‘R&D’ is term used by us mad keen anglers who make up excuses for taking trips away to fish flat out with everything we can get our hands on. Fortunately I get to do these trips pretty regularly, and I take my work very seriously (just ask my wife).
On a recent trip up north I had a chance to test a lot of new toys including rods, reels, lures and jigheads. When I test something like hard-bodied lures and soft plastics I don’t just test their fish-catching ability, I also look at their snag resistance, hook-up rate, damage sustained by fish and by wayward casting, and their action before and after angler and fish abuse. During my most recent trip I tested some products by Berkley and Halco, and the following are two of the models that impressed me most.
The stand-out soft plastic was definitely the Berkley 4” Minnow Grub. It caught a lot of fish, rigged on a 1/16oz jighead and worked everywhere from shallow sand flats to snag-lined creeks. But what impressed me most was how tough it was. I caught big trevally, mangrove jack, barramundi, queenfish, flathead, grunter and lots more, and the Berkleys lasted a lot longer than standard plastics.
These small mullet-shaped plastics have the traditional curly tail which, despite hundreds of casts, rarely hooked up on the jighead point. Most of the colours have holographic flecks through them which really look the goods in clear water. The standout colour was the Glass Minnow which is a white with a holographic strip.
I have tested a few different surface lures and found the new Halco Rooster poppers to be well designed and built very tough. They cast like bullets and can be blooped or burned across the surface. They come in a range of colours but I have found that when burning them across the surface the colour isn’t that important. When blooping, however, the white or gold worked better than all the fancy colours.
I have caught some great queenfish and trevally on these poppers, and the only damage the lures have sustained is a few teeth marks – which really only adds to fun.
1) Geoff Bayer with a typical Bundaberg snapper. They are biting well on the artificial reefs right now.
2) The 4” Berkley Power Grub has proven to be a good lure for a wide range of species, including trevally such as this little diamond.Reads: 558