FISHING overall has been quite good of late, east of the South passage bar. There have been some real class snapper caught on the grounds south of Point Lookout and east of the bar there have been good quire on the southern 29s and 33s. Floating back pillies has accounted for most of the fish.
Deep Tempest has been firing for squire and on recent charters we’ve been boating amberjacks, yellowtail kings and the odd good snapper on livies on the 35s and 42s. One of the snapper went just on 10kg.
October and November should see some nice school snapper move in along the Shallow Tempest stretch of reef.
Day One of the 2004 Straddie Classic arrived with strong southwesterly breezes, so myself and deckie Ron Tattersall opted for a late start. We planned to jig a few livebaits and troll the coffee rock along Moreton island, hoping for a lost Spanish mackerel or two.
After getting some nice livies around Shag Rock we were about to head over to Moreton, but the wind started backing away so we headed out to chase amberjacks and snapper on the 33s and 35s.
The first stop was a bit of ground in 65m, and on my second drop I put the hooks into a quality fish. After a short battle a nice amberjack came over the side, which later pulled the scales to 19.3kg. After working the area for an hour without any more strikes I headed for another bit of ground in 72m. The Furuno showed some good fish hanging off a 2m bump, and the next two hours saw seven hook-ups on some huge amberjack. We weren’t good enough, however, with all the fish blowing us away on the reef. We were just about out of livies when I hooked up on another solid fish and, with a little luck, I boated another amberjack that later weighed in a 22.8kg. This gave us 1 and 2 on the board after Day 1.
Day Two saw more fresh southwesterly breezes so we decided to fish some shallow ground just south of Point Lookout. We managed only a couple of small cobia for the morning, so when the wind backed away mid-afternoon we headed back to amberjack territory.
The amberjack again couldn’t resist our livebaits, but with a similar result to our efforts on Day One: five hook-ups for five bust-ups. The fish were obviously XOS units, so we knew we needed a bit of luck to put one in the boat.
Day Three saw strong southeasterly breezes, making it a very tough day on the water. We worked around Boat Rock in the hope of a nice snapper or sweetlip. Fishing was quiet, however, so I headed out to see whether it was fishable in the deeper water. When we got there the southeaster pushed us quickly into the northwest, so fishing was very difficult. After the first drift I decided to do one more and call it a day.
On the drift I managed a good pearlie, and just as Ron went to wind in his gear the reel came to life. After a minute or so we knew it was a good fish, and with the boat drifting quickly into the northwest, it did Ron a favour and helped him surf the fish up. After about 10 minutes Ron landed an amberjack which later weighed in at just over 25kg, topping the leader board. After landing the fish we called it a day.
Day Four was a top day on the water. Although I wanted to chase a snapper I just couldn’t drive past amberjack of this size, and after loading up on livies we headed back to the spot.
I was listening to the radio to the boys south of Look-out boating some quality snapper and I was wondering whether I’d made the right call when the amberjack started to turn it on. I landed a 17kg fish and a 19.8kg one before they went off the chew. We persisted and they came on again, and I put the hooks into an absolute brute which I thought I was holding on the 24kg gear. The amberjack made another lunge for the bottom and I locked up the drag and held on – and pulled the hooks. When I inspected my gear I found two straightened 8/0s. I won’t be using that brand of hook again.
While this was happening Ron had been blown away a couple of times but managed to hold onto another good fish of just over 23kg. With this fish, and his earlier 25kg one, Ron now held first and second place on the leader board.
Days Five and Six saw strong northerly winds so we played tourist on the island and just kicked back and relaxed. Our tally on amberjack for the week was 22 hook-ups for six fish, ranging from 17kg to 25kg.
There were some class fish caught during the comp, including Brett Seng’s 11.1kg snapper, Scott Waugh’s 13.1kg blue parrot and Darryl Clark’s 1.03kg whiting, which was judged the Classic Catch for the comp.
Overall, the Classic was again a huge success and a credit to the organisers and officials. We are very fortunate to have two comps of such magnitude – The Straddie Classic and the Toyota Fraser Island Fishing Expo – in our neck of the woods, so if you get the change come and have a fish. I’m sure you’ll have a top time and get hooked on fishing these two great tournaments.
My deckie Ron ended up finishing first and second in the amberjack category for the second year running. If he keeps beating the skipper, I’ll be looking for another deckie!
1) Carren Copp with a 12kg amberjack which nailed a livie on the 35s.
2) Jeff Lean with 10kg of snapper from the 35s.
landscape pic to come
3) Ron Tattlersall with one of the thumper amberjack that earned him first and second place in this year’s Straddie Classic.Reads: 817