There was a promising start to summer fishing, with a big variety of fish, and good numbers, but sadly, it fizzled out a little. Hot weather conditions have hampered the chances of a good haul of fish in the Passage and beyond.
Although rainfall for the month has been pretty average, nothing really fell until the 17th of January. The heavy rain did stir things up a bit, with a lot of fresh coming into the Passage.
In the couple of days after it, Ningi Creek mouth yielded some good bream catches and even legal snapper. Some big bream (one 35cm) were also taken from the Avon wreck at the time. Squid was the most successful bait, as well as soft plastic lures.
At the mouth of Ningi, Daryl landed a lovely 68cm flathead on the 18th, using soft plastics, late in the day.
Since then, sporadic showers have come through the area, but they didn’t do much to cool things down.
Daily temps have been around 30+ degrees and nights have not cooled much at all. As a result, water temperatures in the Pumicestone Passage have averaged a whopping 28 degrees – way too hot for fish to be comfortable and active.
Warm water holds less dissolved oxygen than cold water, so this sort of hot summer weather is when fish have a hard time getting enough oxygen. Low oxygen levels can result from other factors, too, such as poor flushing or circulation.
When it gets too warm and oxygen levels drop, fish become sluggish and inactive – and that obviously is not good for fishing!
Fish usually compensate for increased water temperature by finding areas that are cooler, allowing their body temperature to cool as a result. In the Passage, that means you need to target the gutters or shady structures, and there have been some good results from that strategy lately.
George tells us that, day or night, the fishing at the bridge is going well. It seems stocked full of morwong and grassy sweetlip. Try cast-netting for fresh herring or use cut-baits, like mullet.
Rob’s crew had a good afternoon fishing in the shade of the bridge, bringing home Venus tusk-fish and bream.
Ned’s gutter and Gallagher’s gutter are two deeper sections of water, which usually attract fish in warmer weather. Either of them have been good spots to try over the incoming tide. Any further north than Gallagher’s and the fish are just not very hungry.
Fishing south of the bridge has been an easier way to catch a feed – a drift on the incoming tide, about 100 metres off the island, allows you to follow along the drop-off, which has been holding grassy sweetlip, whiptails and others.
Shelley had to get around to Red Beach before she had any luck – then she was kept busy with “a heap of mackerel”, mainly being busted off, but it was still a good day out.
Richard says the first cardinal south of the Passage has been the place for mackerel; not all big ones, but lots of them, and there every day.
Further around on Woorim’s surf beach, going north towards the camping area, Geoff said that he and his mates caught loads of grassy sweetlip, whiptails and even coral trout. Live worms, of course, were the bait of choice there.
The January 17 rains livened up the sand and mud crabs for a little while, but they are difficult to find at the moment. We can only hope that this big spell of rain is going to really get them going again.
Some unwanted visitors were flushed into the Passage with the January rain – tilapia are considered to be a serious pest fish, which prefer fresh water but will tolerate salt as well. Every now and then, they turn up here, especially after rain. Queensland has strict rules about tilapia. If you happen to catch one, you can’t keep it for food – it “must be disposed of by either burying above the high water mark near the place of capture, or placing in a nearby bin.”
Just as well there are plenty of other fish in the sea….