Inshore reefs worth a look
  |  First Published: October 2003

FISHING the reefs east of the South Passage bar has been quite productive over the past month. Good numbers of quality snapper in the 4kg–6kg range have been common and they should hang around throughout October. Larger snapper to 8kg and the odd tackle-busting amberjack are also being caught, with live baits accounting for most of the hook-ups. The lack of good weather has been the only problem, with strong southerlies and the dreaded nor-westers often making life tough for offshore boaties.

The well known reef structures to the east and north of the bar, such as the southern and northern 29s, 33 and 35 fathom reefs, have all been holding fair numbers of squire and snapper. It’s just been a case of doing a few extra kilometres with the sounder on and locating a school that’s keen to have a chew. This past month I’ve found the better shows of fish hanging on the edges of the reef away from the higher more prominent sections, as well as on isolated bumps and pinnacles in between the main lines of reef. These isolated bumps are a little harder to fish and you’ll get only one or two drops a drift, but it’s well worth the effort.

Floating back lightly weighted pillies or fresh strip baits such as mullet, tailor or bonito on either two 6/0s or 3/50s ganged will get you in the hunt this month. Live slimies and yakkas on stinger rigs will account for the bigger fish but you’ll need more weight to get the bait down in the strike zone. On days when the wind or current makes the drift too quick, using a sea anchor will keep you above the fish for longer and allow you to keep your sinker size to a minimum.

Further afield, Square Patch and Deep Tempest have been producing squire and trag jew for the bottom bouncers, along with amberjack and yellowtail kingfish on live baits. The shallower reefs around Point Lookout such as the Halfway and One Mile are an each way bet for squire, parrot and the odd spangled emperor at the moment. Boat traffic can be a problem though, especially on weekends.

South of Point Lookout the Cathedrals have also been producing squire and snapper, and the 50 and 60 metre lines of reef northeast of the Jumpinpin bar have seen some large jew and knobbies on their secret bits of ground. With spring with us, targeting quality fish in the shallower water (25m to 40m) becomes a viable option. From Henderson Rock to Cape Moreton, anglers fishing the ledges, drop-offs and bait schools along the shallow tempest line of reef can expect to put the hooks into snapper, spangled emperor, cobia and amberjack.

I’ll be hoping for better weather in October to hit the water more often, and if you’d like to join me abroad my customised 7m Haines Hunter Outlaw for a day’s charter fishing (1 to 4 persons) just give me a call on 0418 738 750 or (07) 3822 9527.

Til next month, good fishing!

1) From Henderson Rock to Cape Moreton, anglers fishing along the Shallow Tempest line of reef can expect snapper, cobia, amberjack and spangled emperor like this one.

2) There are quite a few parrotfish around the shallower reefs around Point Lookout at the moment.

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