Fisheries get it wrong
  |  First Published: March 2009

Fishing offshore has been satisfactory lately with Spanish mackerel around. There have also been plenty of yellowtail kingfish and amberjack on the wider grounds that have been hitting both live bait and jigs. April should bring a late run of wahoo and larger Spaniards into our waters.

Live bait has been tough to catch consistently in the last month. Most boats have had to spend a lot of time in the bait grounds to put quality bait in the tank. But, it is still well worth the effort and extra time because it’s extremely annoying when you run out of livies and the fish come on the chew. I can’t put my finger on why bait has been so hard to catch, but hopefully April will see more bait schools in close.

At this time of year I usually like to break up my charters. First we chase a few mackerel on live bait, then with the remaining livies and jigs, I like to head to the deeper water to tackle a few ambos and kingies. But with the livies being very time consuming I haven’t done as much mackerel fishing as usual this season. Most of the mackerel to come aboard have been around 7-8kg with the odd fish in the 10-12kg bracket. There has also been good numbers of school mackerel around but sometimes they become a real nuisance, hitting every live bait you put in the water aimed at a Spaniard.

Amberjack, kingfish and a few squire have been fairly reliable on the wider grounds throughout the warmer months. But the strong north-south current makes them impossible to target when it’s running hard. Fishing with jigs is the only way to go in these conditions.

Target species for April are again mackerel, wahoo and other pelagics and with the water starting to cool a little towards the end of the month, reefies will start to come back into the sights of bottom fishos with snapper starting to show up in some numbers.

Since 1 March, I’ve had a few clients give me a strange stare when I’ve tossed fish back over the side. On one recent trip, the first four fish boated were amberjack between 60cm and 73cm, which had to be released with the new limit of 75cm. Ambos at this size are good eating fish and I think the new limit of only two fish at 75cm is ridiculous. Hopefully the Fisheries will alter these new limits.

Most of these fish are caught in deep, shark infested waters (we lose numerous fish to sharks in these areas daily) and when released after a solid fight the fish have little change of getting back to the bottom and they become shark food anyway.

I also do not believe the information from the so-called shark experts. I think shark numbers are definitely increasing closer inshore. Between commercial charter operators, other professional fisherman and myself we are seeing a significant rise in shark sightings over the past couple of years.

By April the state election will be all over. It will be interesting to see if the LNP policy to give anglers access to the green zones while doing a policy review over the next year sways voters here in the South East, and especially in the Bayside electorates. Labor’s green zone policy designed to insure green party preferences might have come back to haunt them! Pollution from industry, not anglers, is the biggest problem in our waterways, but anglers are easier target than cashed up big businesses.

On another note I’ve always used tropical ice-boxes on my boats. Over the years, I’ve found them to be nearly indestructible and they hold ice very well. The one thing I’ve never been the hugest fan of was the bright orange colour (I’m fussy), but Tropical have now released a range of their high quality poly ice-boxes in white and they look a treat. I’ve just purchased a white 85L one to use on Outlaw and it looks great. So if you’re in the market for a new ice-box have a look at Tropical’s new range, you won’t be disappointed.

Until next month, enjoy your fishing, take care on the coastal bars and if you would like to join me on a charter (max 5 persons) give me a call on 3833 9527 or 0418 738 750.

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