Brutes biting offshore
  |  First Published: November 2005

I’d like to apologise for not having a report in last month’s QFM as I was away on holidays and also fishing the Australian Angling Titles in Yeppoon.

Before I went away and since I’ve been back the fishing has been red hot. The snapper have been hanging on in good numbers, while in the deeper water, amberjacks, samsonfish and yellowtail kingfish have been responding very well to livebaiting and deepwater jigging.

I did a couple of charters with the boys from Captain Bligh’s Tackle in late September and early October. On the first trip we got stuck into some yellowtail kingfish, even though a raging southerly current made it a little difficult. The boys released the majority of the 40-odd fish they jigged up, with the best kingfish around 12kg.

On the second trip, the boys warmed up for an hour on some average kingfish. Then I worked some isolated patches of reef in around 75m and they boated nine amberjacks in the 10-12kg range, with the biggest around 15kg. By the end of the day the boys certainly had sore shoulders – jigging is hard work but also very rewarding. Some jigs worked better than others on the day, so if you’re looking to do some deepwater jigging, talk to the boys at Captain Bligh’s and they will point you in the right direction.

The day after that charter I worked the same area with another group of clients and the amberjacks again responded well, this time to livebaits. They boated several fish around 8-10kg, as well as a couple of good pearlies.

Late September and early October saw the current raging to the south, so I decided to do a few charters on the southern end of the wide Caloundra reefs. The current line that comes in around the Cape Moreton area and eddies out off the coast near the Tweed doesn’t affect the wide Caloundra area very much. Even when there’s a raging current off Moreton Island, the current at Caloundra is often minimal and very fishable.

The area of reef I worked was in 60m of water and the snapper were in good numbers. We caught fish of 3-5kg on paternosters and floatlines. There were also some nice pearlies and parrot amongst the squire and snapper.

Cobia have also been around in healthy numbers, especially in the Cape Moreton area and off Bribie Island. In some spots, it has apparently been hard to get livebaits to the boat without cobia hitting the bait jigs. If you find them like this, make sure you only take enough for your immediate needs.

Spring is normally a productive time to fish off Moreton Island. The next month or so should see good squire and snapper move in along the Shallow Tempest area and floatlining with pillies along the outside edges of the reef in 35-40m should be productive.

Amberjacks and samsonfish increase in numbers this month and some real brutes over 30kg turn up. We boated several around that size last year and one monster that went 50kg. If you want to target these fish, make sure your tackle is in top condition because they will certainly put it to the test.

Down around North Straddie, good snapper and squire are still being caught in close around Point Lookout and down on the Cathedrals. As the water temperature rises, dolphinfish will become more active around the wave rider buoy.

Australian Angling Titles

As I mentioned earlier, I fished the Australian Angling Titles over the first two weeks of September. My fishing partner Jon Eadie and I took our families up to Yeppoon and had a great holiday in between fishing the three rounds of the offshore competition.

I’d never fished off Yeppoon before and without any GPS marks, I used the chart in my GPS unit to locate shoals and contour lines in order to find some fish. The day before the competition we managed a couple of reds around 10kg but the fishing was quite slow.

In the first round we decided to go wide to some shoals about 80km east of Yeppoon in the hope of finding some red emperor. After sounding around for what seemed an eternity, I found a patch of fish in 40m, just off one of the shoals.

Once the anchor was down, the fish started coming aboard and in no time the icebox was a sea of red. Jon’s best was 11kg and mine was 15kg. After the first round, I was 1st on the leader board and Jon was 2nd.

We worked the same patch of ground for the next two rounds with similar results. When the final whistle blew, I was fortunate enough to hold onto top spot and Jon finished a very respectable 4th. We were both also in the Qld Team, which took the title over a fast finishing NSW.

Until next month, take care on the coastal bars, enjoy your fishing and if you’d like to join me on a charter (maximum 4 people) give me a call on (07) 3822 9527 or 0418 738 750.

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