December sees the arrival of the first of the warmer summertime current lines, and with that come the large schools of baitfish.
Later in the month the first of the mackerel schools following the bait will turn up, but they won’t be at their peak until late January through May. Closer to Christmas it’s worth having a look at the Coffee Rock along the front of Moreton Island for any early season activity and if you can find working birds or fish working bait schools, it will be well worth having a troll.
Hutchinson Shoal, the Sevens off Flat Rock and the Group off Point Lookout might also be worth a quick troll with the high-speeds for an early wahoo or yellowfin tuna. When travelling across the bay, to head offshore at this time of year, it also pays to have a spin stick rigged with a chrome slug or 35g Laser because spotty mackerel schools will pop up throughout the bay for the next few months and they’re a stack of fun on light tackle.
On the wider grounds, reef fish will be harder to find and the stronger currents will make bottom fishing a bit of a hit-and-miss exercise. As I mentioned last month, fishing the Shallow Tempest area is a good option in the later months of the year to score a feed of reefies.
October and early November saw plenty of northerly breezes with not too many good days to have a fish offshore, but the fishing was excellent if you managed to sneak out on one of the better days.
At the time of writing, on most charters I’ve still been working the deeper water of the 35 to 42 fathom reefs and the fishing has been very consistent. Working with livebait has been far and away out-fishing other methods. Schooling amberjack from 6-12kg have been in good numbers along with large trag jew to 6kg, yellowtail kingfish and the odd pearlie or snapper who have taken a liking to a slimy or yakka.
With the water warming up, dolphinfish numbers will also be on the increase around the waverider east of Point Lookout. On a recent trip we boated a nice bull dolphin around 15kg that was too inquisitive for his own good. He kept coming up to the back of the boat so we dropped a livie down his throat and he put on a great show for the next 10 minutes or so.
The Silly Season isn’t far away, and with so many more boats on the water please be patient and take a little extra care out there. For those who use the Christmas holidays to venture offshore, make sure you get the engine serviced, charge your batteries and get rid of any old fuel, especially if your boat has been sitting idle for a while. Having a motor break down at sea or stall in the bar is something to avoid, and please take care when crossing the coastal bars.
Lastly, just a quick thankyou to the guys at the Power Boat Anglers for their hospitality at a recent club meeting.
That’s all from me for 2004, and I hope you all have a safe Christmas and New Year. If you like to join me on a charter (max. 4 persons) call me on (07) 3822 9527 or 0418 738 750.
1) Col and Chris with a 15kg-plus dolphinfish that swallowed a livie on the 35s.
2) Some of the catch from a recent charter – dolphinfish, amberjack, yellowtail king and trag jew.
3) Con with 5kg of snapper from Shallow Tempest.Reads: 512