Well we’re into Spring and probably through most of the blustery winds, although they can still come up and blow away the chance of a good day’s fishing. Most of the strong winds this month have come from the SE, which shoot straight up the Passage, so fishing the creeks has been a great option.
Fortunately, the flathead like the creeks at this time of year, too. With the breeding season soon underway, there’s a good chance of finding quality flathead. The big females are generally feeding up, in and around the creek mouths, and the males are gathering as well. This year has been one of the best flathead seasons for a long time – consistent reports of over 70 cm hook-ups and plenty of fat 50-60cm beauties brought in.
Fishability Qld have been taking their crews up to a favourite spot, just north of the Ningi Creek marker and have come back with some fantastic flathead over the past month. Jack and Josh also did well a couple of weeks ago, both scoring flathead while trolling lures at the mouth of Ningi. Soft plastics would have to be the most popular plan for chasing flathead lately, but using lures requires technique- keep the movement realistic and try drifting rather than being at anchor – and remember, get that landing net ready before you start to lift your catch from the water!
Flathead have been fishing well in the Passage, too. Over the top of the tide, try the banks in the middle of the Passage, using lures. During the falling tide, sit at the draining end of a gutter. This is where using live bait is best, but gang-hooked pilchards are doing the job too – that’s what a 68cm flathead took at the first green marker south of the bridge. Josh and Mel tried some night-fishing near Buckley’s Hole and caught a 63cm flathead (..well, I think Mel just stayed in the car, with a good book..).
All that being said, Spring is always a tricky time for fishing. Everything is starting to move into summer conditions, but it’s not there – yet. Between-seasons fishing is often less about skill and more about luck. Richard and Dean will testify to that – they just came in while I’m writing this report, having caught nothing but under-sized flathead and one sting-ray. “Just used $30 of live worms -all for nothing!”
With the westerlies almost blown out, the tailor season is pretty much over – although this year, it never really seemed to get started. The reports were sporadic and a little disappointing. Rod was out at Moreton Island in early September - after tailor, but none to be found; he said even the professional netters were bringing very little in. There was an occasional ray of light – one crew bagged 26 of them at dusk, out at the third green marker, near Cook’s Rocks – using pilchards, of course.
School mackerel have been more plentiful, with good catches around the bridge, as well as in the Passage. Cameron caught lots of them on the drift past the Avon wreck, mostly under-sized but some good ones among them. Christine and her mates used lures on a windy day in Ned’s Gutter and brought in a couple of impressive fish. Spoon-lures are the usual method for schoolies, with some fancy set-ups of late. Both Cameron and Christine were fishing on the neap tides of the month, which are the best tides for mackerel.
The snapper closed season ran until August 15th. Before that, we heard of quite a few good-sized snapper caught and released, including a 73cm beauty caught at the ripples, outside Pacific Harbour. Since the snapper season opened up again? Nothing much at all.
There’s been better news on other fronts: bream have been hanging out under the bridge, as is usual this time of year. Using pillies, just after the top of the tide, might catch you one. Whiting have been taking live worms and freshly-pumped yabbies south of the bridge, along the shore from Sandstone Point and past Godwin Beach.
There are some pretty wonderful things that can happen while you’re out fishing, and it’s not always about landing the “big catch”. A friend, Judy from Beachmere, rings in with a fishing report from time to time; but this last call, she was especially excited. She had been fishing from the beach, at the bottom of her yard, when “close inshore on the low tide, no further out than my crabpot”, she saw an almost fully-grown whale passing through – at Beachmere! It rolled and blew and flipped its tail – and moved on. She managed to get her husband out to see it too, so people wouldn’t think she was crazy!
Oh… and she caught 6 whiting.