Boy, what a difference a month makes! A short time ago, it was all hunky-dory and now we’re coming to terms with this new life and committing to pull together as a community, to beat COVID-19.
Some things change and some things remain the same. The rules for boating and fishing seem set now and we’ll be allowed to fish in order to feed our family, which is pretty much what everyone aims to do.
So, as long as we conscientiously apply the distancing and group guidelines, we might be able to continue to get fresh air, exercise, stress-release, as well as dinner, through fishing.
Fortunately, the fishing has continued to show good results. March weather was encouraging, with rain-periods every second week, which kept the fish interested in a feed. The water-temperature dropped during each of these weeks but lifted again; currently it sits about 1-2o above long-term averages. While these conditions continue, we will see a variety of summer and winter fish around the Passage and beyond. The real winter fishing may not kick in until a little later than usual this year.
Paula and Steve tried the outgoing drift between the South cardinal and Red Beach early in the month, and said there were “fish everywhere – whiting, mackerel, squire and even flathead – they were just all too small to bother keeping.” They did see another boat have more luck on the day, bringing in “something 1m+, maybe a cobia.” According to Richard, there are good schools of mackerel out that way, so who knows…
Greg and his wife went a little further, heading down to Deception Bay. Between them, they were able to bring home 60 big winter whiting. Whiting love to nibble on worms, of course, but quality worms are still hard to come by. It is best to call your local bait shop, to check ahead.
The warmer water is helping to hold the bream in the Passage. Big and small bream are occupying all sections and are pretty hungry. Dion and Harold spent most of their day fishing the area between Ningi creek and the bridge, and got onto “lots of baby snapper, sweetlip and bream.” None of the bream or snapper were keepable, but an estuary cod and an impressive sweetlip made it to the dinner table. In the same area, Ann used prawns and mullet to catch three grunter bream – all of them hefty, over the turn of the tide.
In the upper reaches of Glassy Creek, Greg reckons there were “thousands” of baby bream – “great fishing for young kids”, and good news for fishing stocks! He did manage to take a couple of good flathead home.
Richard says there are plenty of bream at Cook’s Rocks and Sandstone Point, as well as whiting. Staying closer to home, Shag Island and the Avon wreck, as well as Banksia Beach, have been good spots for a day of fishing – with shovelnose shark, flounder, cuttlefish and even the odd legal snapper being caught.
Prawns have usually been the bait for catching bigger bream, but Ann and Paul had more luck with squid, using the falling tide to catch bream and sweetlip. Nate has been using herring, which makes sense, because there are increasing numbers of herring about, so it’s a natural choice. Fishing the IGA ledge, at Bongaree, he caught a 30cm bream, and he also caught a 35cm bream out on Cook’s Rocks.
A few people have been saying that crabs are the real good news story right now. Jason set his pots up near the Avon wreck and managed 23 keepers in one day! Richard tells us there are crabs everywhere; Nate reckons that it’s worth putting out your pots “anywhere on sand-flats”; he got 6 good bucks from Godwin Beach.
Tim, on the other hand, had 4 pots out; of the 20 crabs caught, 18 were jennies. But Tim, you know, he never has a lot of luck..
Speaking of luck - our little boat-hire business, along with all the others, has shut down for the “foreseeable future”, whatever that is. We’ll open again, no worries; in the meantime, take care, and remember we’re all in this together, and the rules are there to protect us all.