Quality reefies in the shallows
  |  First Published: November 2003

THE WEATHER pattern for October was a repeat of August with more bad days than good. For those who did venture offshore, the rewards were good with the wider reefs such as Square Patch and Deep Tempest fishing well for squire and trag around the full moon. The 29s, 33s and 35s also fished reasonably well but the squire were smaller. While fishing the 35s on a couple of charters this past month we managed to bag out on squire. However, with the new size limit of 35cm every second fish went back. We used the correct procedures when releasing those fish and I hope the survival rate is as good as the authorities say.

The wider grounds off Point Lookout in the 80m to 90m are producing some nice pearl perch to around 3kg and those days when the wind drops out and the ocean goes to oil is the best time to blast out wide and chase a feed of these top tablefish. When chasing pearlies I use normal bottom-bouncing gear with a pillie on a set of gangs and a bite-sized livey on a single Mustad Demon circle hook. Pearl perch have very soft mouths so once they’re hooked don’t try to break any records bringing them to the boat. If you keep the weight on them and take it nice and steady you’ll boat more fish.

November is a good time to chase quality fish in shallow water and east of Moreton Islands, Shallow Tempest is an extensive reef which fishes well at this time of year. I like to work depths from 25m to 40m, locating the bait schools and sending down live slimeys and yakkas to try to stir up some action. If you don’t get a hit after a couple of drops move up the road to the next bait school and do the same again. Target species include snapper, sweetlip, jew, cobia and amberjack. As far as line size goes, you can use a minimum of 15kg but 24kg is preferred, because trying to stop big fish in shallow water takes some doing. Hook size depends on the size of the live bait you’re using and a metre of two of heavy leader is a wise move.

Another good option for November, especially for those days when the current is belting, is the coffee rock in 12-15m of water, in close to the beach on Moreton Island. When fishing with Alveys and Baitrunners with lightly weighted baits you can expect catches of quality tablefish such as parrot, Moses perch, squire, grass sweetlip and the odd red emperor. Anchoring and doing a little berleying will help your cause. Locating the coffee rock isn’t difficult, so if your first stop doesn’t fire just move along to another patch and have another go.

Until next month, enjoy your fishing – and if you’d like to come on a charter give me a call on 0418 738 750 or (07) 3822 9527.

1. John Gooding with a great red and snapper – just a sample of what’s on offer on the wider grounds this month.

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