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Braving the heat
  |  First Published: November 2003




IF THE weather at the time of writing is any indication, we can look forward to a very hot, uncomfortable November. These conditions improve our chances of tangling with some great summer sportfish though, so you’ve got to take the good with the bad.
BEACH FISHING

Recent beach catches have been generally poor with only a few whiting, flathead and dart being taken. The tailor catches on Teewah Beach have been intermittent. There were reasonable catches of whiting at Inskip and Hook Points Around the full moon in September and October, and these fish should still be available in November.

Commercial beach netters have been targeting tailor in the local area and this has upset quite a few people. Many don’t realise the netters have the legal right to do so. Now that tailor netting has been restricted on Fraser Island, commercial fishermen still need to make a living and this often means increased effort elsewhere. Rainbow Beach and south along Teewah towards Noosa are important tourist destinations in south-east Queensland and fish stocks are already under pressure. I hope the people responsible for managing our marine resources have done their homework and that the local area is monitored in a sustainable manner.

GREAT SANDY STRAITS

Winter whiting and a few sand whiting have been caught drifting over the sand flats in the bay, and I've had some good sessions along the bottom of Fraser Island using yabbies for bait. There have been some scattered schools of tuna in the bay but most have proven elusive.

There’s a chance that a few golden trevally will make an appearance this month. Areas to try include along Inskip Point and around Big Mick. Live whiting is the best bait.

November is definitely the ideal month to chase mangrove jack. These great sportfish are available up all of the creeks that feed into the Straits, and jacks are often taken at night along Teebar Ledge.

The hotter weather should also create ideal conditions for catching a feed of crabs. If you do decide to chase crabs, please give some thought as to where you set your pots. I often leave the boat ramp to head offshore before dawn and am frequently amazed that people have strung their pots completely across the boat channel.

OFFSHORE

The fishing offshore continues to be very good. Obviously some wind direction and moon phases conspire to put fish off the bite but they’re definitely there. Recent inshore catches have included plenty of red emperor, trout, Maori cod, kingfish and cobia. Live baiting has been the key to quality, with frozen baits providing plenty of undersized reds. One fish that’s in ready supply is the ‘grinner’; I must have caught 30 of these mongrel fish on my last trip. Some are as large as pick handles, and they’ll take the largest live yakka and badly chafe the line. Some people are saying the reason for the grinner 'plague’ is the small population of spotty mackerel. I don’t know whether that’s true but if spotty mackerel do eat grinners and if the macks start to make a comeback they’ll have excellent growth rates!

Snapper have been conspicuous by their absence and plenty of anglers have been disappointed with the season. There are exceptions to every rule though – young local Matthew McIlroy was thrilled to take two very nice snapper last week, proving there are a few around. Matt caught his fish one after the other at around 10:30am on whole poddy mullet floated down on a threadline reel. The fish hit well up off the bottom.

November is not my favourite month to fish offshore but if the weather is kind there’ll still be some fish available. This time of year often produces fish in very close and there’s little need to travel long distances and discover that the current is raging anyway. Cobia should be available along with the chance of a few early spotty mackerel. Good sport can be had casting lures to feeding schools of tuna, and the odd dolphinfish or sailfish might even make an appearance. In past years I have caught some good snapper this month, so you never know.

1) This coral trout was caught by Glen Callender on Ed Falconer’s boat Keely Rose.

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