April has been an interesting month, for Australia in general, and for fishing locally.
The COVID-19 restrictions meant that to go out on a boat, it had to be privately owned and you needed to be fishing for your family. We’ve probably never seen the boat ramp near us so busy! It was encouraging to see that almost all of the boaters were adhering to the “two people or a family” rule – a great opportunity for everyone to enjoy some outdoors social distancing.
Fishing from the shore has also been allowed, as good exercise, as well as to feed the family. Certainly, from a boat or from land, April has been a very rewarding month for fishing!
Weatherwise, April has been fantastic. Daily wind maximums have been about 15 knots, average temperature has been 27o and water temperatures have remained at 26o. Just 11 days have seen rain, with most of it overnight; only 42mm in total. So, the seas have been calm, the waters clear and the fish have been settled and keen to take whatever bait is being offered.
Over the past weekend, (which is after this report is written), temperatures were predicted to drop dramatically, so the bumper bream catches may soon be over, but it’s been a great season lately. Justin didn’t have to go far to get a catch of bream – sitting off the Passage-side boat ramp at Kalamakuta Drive. He found squid was working best for him, but Mick was in pretty much the same area over Easter and yabbies were the go. He caught 30 odd fish over 26cm, most of them over 30cm, and kept a couple of good ones for the Easter table.
Nerill took her boat down the Caboolture River, to the mouth, the week after Easter and says she “stopped counting after 16 bream”. She kept three of the biggest of them - 30cm, 30cm and 29cm, and also scored a 40cm tailor. Another report came in at the same time, “heaps of under-sized bream and nothing else”, so maybe Nerill got in first.
Tailor have been showing up already, south of the island, especially out from Red Beach and Godwin Beach – 50, 60, 70cm specimens among them. Between Beachmere and Godwin Beach, Jude has been having a busy time, fishing from the shore. Sand flathead, bream and winter whiting in abundance, using usually prawns for bait.
From Sandstone Point, Henry and Toby said they would have the line in for only 20 seconds, before hooking yet another winter whiting. Michael was in the same spot too, a couple of weeks ago. He says there were lots of “really big, quality whiting – the bigger ones were hanging at the back.” Worms are a favoured bait for that job, but Toby used fresh yabbies – and had a fun morning.
Off Sandstone Point, among the weed-banks, the flathead have been taking anything that is well-cast – pillies, prawns and soft-plastics caught four flathead between 40 and 70cm. It’s worth trying Turner’s Camp, too.
Cook’s Rocks are also a good spot for flathead – one 88cm beauty lived to see another day, but Cody kept his 51cm flathead, which he caught on fresh herring.
Further out, tuna are showing up in big numbers – both yellowfin and mackerel tuna – off the north of Moreton Island, Smith’s Rock and elsewhere. Dillon used a metal jig to hook up a good mackerel tuna in the Spitfire Channel. With the beginning of the wintry westerlies, it’s the time to target the tuna out there.
Rod said there were plenty of tuna out at Smith’s Rock last week; they were all a bit skittish, but he brought one home with him, stopping at Cook’s Rocks on the way in, to get a good load of whiting, too.
Lastly, the sand-crabs have been plentiful and the mud-crabs less so. Michael has been getting plenty of sand-crabs, but Michelle was hankering for a muddie, so they went way up Ningi Creek to drop their pots last weekend. They came back empty-handed – “only two great, big jennies – beyond breeding age, real old”, so I think they’ll go back to catching the sand-crabs!
So, you see, good news all round for fishing, and the best news is that our boat-hire business has been able to start up again. So now, you don’t need to own a boat – you can hire one. Hooray!!