By Anthony Cass - Pelagic Hunter
The local offshore fishing has been slow as of late, thanks in part, to the relentless trade winds that are typical for this time of year. Strong southerlies pushing large swells up the coast have been prevalent. Coupled with a higher than average rainfall, the water in close has been quite dirty. The major influencing factor to our local reefs, the East Australian Current, has also been taking a wider, slower coarse than we generally like to see. With all that being said, there are still some excellent fish being caught locally.
When conditions such as current and water clarity aren't at their best, it can come down to the finer details. Moon phase and the position of the moon in the sky are crucial factors which are often overlooked, even by very experienced anglers. This month, the position of the moon has certainly meant the difference between a hit and a miss! Moon rise, moon set, moon-under-foot and moon-over-head have been the cues to watch for increased fish aggregation.
The water is cooling. We saw quite a significant drop in water temperatures this month which means the time is upon us to start targeting those big knobby Snapper. During these cooler months there will be quality Snapper schooled up on almost every bit of structure, patch of rubble and wonky hole in south east Queensland as they aggregate to spawn. Large soft plastic lures with the lightest possible jighead (this can take some experimentation) fished on a light 20lb combo are the choice for many who target these superb table fish. Fishing light gets the bite! However, it takes a large degree of angling prowess on such a light setup when that trophy fish comes along, adding further to the reward.
There's still a lot of activity from the pelagic species on the offshore reefs with large schools of small tuna making up the bulk of an incredible bio mass that's been evident over recent weeks. The constant trickle of a water feature as the baitfish flicker on the surface, making up the ambience during afternoon's spent chasing the larger predatory species. In particular, Spanish Mackerel. The Spanos are building in numbers and they've been in very very green pastures! These are all big, thick, mature fish in very healthy condition and there's no small ones. Wire is a must when trolling for these beasts. A small length around 15cm should suffice, the smaller the better but not too small. They're hitting the large topwater lures like poppers and stickbaits more readily as they're gorging themselves on the incredible bio-mass I mentioned earlier. Target those lunar bite periods when they are feeding aggressively. A large Spanish Mackerel can manage to elude some quite seasoned anglers and are a trophy fish in anyone's books. The fish on our doorstep at the moment are certainly of “trophy fish“ standard. And they're here in numbers! Often large Spanish Mackerel can be a risk of carrying ciguatera toxin. There's the old story that our large SEQ winter Spanish don't feed on the GBR long enough to accumulate the toxin, but you can take that with a grain of salt. I have personally eaten local Spanish Mackerel up to 20kg without any issue. Typically SEQ winter Spanish are prized for their extremely high fat content. It's this high fat content that makes them go so well on the barby.
I was off for a good portion of this month in the Coral Sea at a remote sea mount named Kenn Reef, filming some incredible fishing action with Escape with ET. There are 4 action-packed episodes coming up that will make for great viewing!
Let's hope we get a break from these trade winds soon and the early forecasts of a stable winter come to fruition.
Tight lines folks