Last April was marred by bad weather and heavy seas, and unfortunately this year seems to be following a similar pattern! The rain, wind and swells have been persistent through February and March.
My traditional prawn and bream fishing in the upper reaches of the Pine and Caboolture rivers have been spoiled by too much freshwater and too much debris. Hopefully April 2010 will provide us with the start of calmer seas and a good offshore winter season.
April means dark morning starts, cool westerlies on dawn and a general drop in water temperatures. The chill in the air and the water heralds the annual run of temperate species, such as snapper, pearlies, trag jew, kingies and XOS amberjack. This is the time of year when I get really excited about heading offshore.
In April, Incredible Charters usually departs at 5am, which will get to the shallow reefs off Cape Moreton without too much sunlight to bother us. The fishing is traditionally good in the area, especially around sunrise.
There are decent snapper about in the shallows pre-dawn if you get there early, but the real prize is when the sun comes up. There are yellowtail king, spangled emperor, red throat emperor, large morwong and real stragglers such as big coronation trout.
I prefer to fish east and south of Cape Moreton during autumn as there is a bit of protection from the early morning westerlies and the larger yellowtail seem to be about in good numbers from Roberts Shoal south.
The dropping water temperatures will bring on the start of the temperate species, and last April saw the best trag jew season for many years. Trag were all over Shallow Tempest in smaller sizes and the larger 3-6kg trag were on the 80 metre line. The bigger trag preferred live baits while the smaller fish were indiscriminate in their eating habits. Dusk was the best time so if the forecast is good then later starts are the way to go for this species.
Tailor are easier to catch with the cooler temps and they always make the best live or rigged trolling baits.
Spaniards are still thick, especially on the 30 metre, 35 metre and 40 metre contours out from Caloundra and under Cape Moreton. As always, the quality of Spaniards is increasing in May so be prepared to fish a little heavier, especially if sharks are around.
While there have been plenty of Spaniards caught this year, they are a species that has been under a fair bit of pressure commercially and recreationally over the years. Once you have caught a couple maybe move on to another species so that we can enjoy this quality of Spanish Mackerel fishing for years to come.
Easter holidays fall this year on the first weekend in April. Easter brings with it an increase in recreational boat activity and an unbelievable escalation in Fisheries Enforcement on the water. For your own peace of mind, check the expiry dates on your flares. Also, given the new fundraising 406 EPIRB rules, please check that your EPIRB is currently registered with Canberra. You have to renew your address details every two years and apply the appropriate sticker to your EPIRB.
Talking of Easter, a lot of anglers who don’t get to go fishing regularly will make the effort during the holiday. Boat trailers that haven’t moved for 12 months are suddenly hooked up and dragged to the ramp, but usually end up spending most of their time on the side of the road with frozen brakes, collapsed wheel bearings, flat tyres on wheels, and so on. To avoid this fiasco, check your boat and trailer and the gear so that Easter is fun and safe for you and your family.
April to me is a family time – every Easter Thursday evening for the past 25 years or so I have spent camping with my older brother Andrew sitting on a creek bank somewhere solving the problems of the world in front of a log fire with a glass in hand. Dad is no longer with us, but Andrew’s sons, all in their twenties, are deeply steeped in the family tradition.
I wish you and your families a safe, happy and memorable Easter break and excellent April fishing.Reads: 1220