WITH SUMMER fast approaching the focus will soon turn to chasing pelagics but for now bottom bouncing is still the go to nail a feed. This time of year also sees the wider reefs starting to pick up a fair bit of current but, if you can get a day with not a lot of flow, dropping live-baits on bottom-bashing gear will see some serious hook-ups on amberjack, yellowtail king and the odd XOS snapper or trag jew at places like Square Patch, Deep Tempest, the 35s and even the wider grounds off Point Lookout.
For the last month or so Square Patch and the surrounding pieces of reef have been firing for amberjack and yellowtail kings on livies. Squire and snapper numbers are on the decline but if you’re prepared to spend the time floatlining your favourite piece of reef structure you’ll still pick up the odd fish or three. Spots still worth a look for snapper include Shallow Tempest, the 29s and the Cathedrals south of Point Lookout.
My mate Andrew Simmons fished Shallow Tempest recently and caught his bag limit of 10 snapper (five per person) before 10am with fish to around 6kg. The ever-reliable Shallow Grounds around Flat Rock and Point Lookout are still an each way bet for parrot, squire, Moses perch and the odd larger snapper and spangled emperor.
For those who like a feed of dolphinfish, the Wave Rider Beacon east of Point Lookout is the place. They haven’t been around in any great numbers as yet but as the water warms they’ll start to show up in better numbers. Spin tackle with around 10kg line is a good way to catch these fish, and half pillies on two ganged 4/0s is the go. Live-baits will stir them into action if the humble pillie fails. Dolphinfish don’t freeze well so only take enough for a feed.
The pelagics are still a good month or so away but a few of the boys have dragged a few lures around flat Rock and found mack tuna in annoying numbers as usual. One fish that should show up in late December, if the last couple of years are anything to go by, are yellowfin tuna. These fish are mostly rats in the 5-8kg range but are great fun to catch and very good eating if prepared correctly. Lures such as small Jet Heads and 5” Lively Lure Mac Baits towed at around 6 to 8 knots will do the job.
I’ve just returned home after a month in North Queensland where my family and I stayed in Cardwell in the Hinchinbrook area. We had a fantastic time and I’d like to say thanks to our hosts Carl and Debbie Stokes for showing us around a beautiful place and taking us to some great fishing locations.
Until next month, enjoy your fishing and if you’d like any information about my charters (max 4 persons) just give me a call on 0418 738 750 or (07) 3822 9527.
1) Moses perch are available around Flat Rock and Point Lookout, along with parrot, squire, Moses perch and the odd larger snapper and spangled emperor.
2) Yellowtail kingfish have been snapping up livies around Square Patch.Reads: 773