OUR WEEKENDS ARE BEING BLOWN AWAY LATELY, AND IT’S AFFECTING THE FISHING REPORT!
Weekdays have often been typical winter weather – dewy nights and comfortable, clear fishing days, with only light breezes. The temperatures have been a little above average (even night-time temperatures, believe it or not!). Most of the weekend breezes have come from the west, which can play havoc with the fishing, just when we want to get the fishing rods out! Fortunately, there has still been plenty of action over the past few weeks.
I said last month that July is often the month that the big flathead fishing takes off, and luckily, I was right! Good catches of flathead have been common right through the Passage, especially north of the bridge. The beautiful, clear water over winter can make bait fishing tricky with them but hardbodied lures and live yabbies or baitfish have been doing ok, as has squid. Ningi Creek has been a good place to try for flathead. Fishability Qld Men’s Group brought in two 50cm duskies and 42cm bar-tail from their favourite spot, just north of the entrance marker. Another day, Paul and his son scored a couple of biggies near the yellow marker, and Lyn got a 52cm dusky from not far away. Sarah and her mates kept five of them over 40cm and one bar-tail that was 43cm.
Elimbah and Bullock Creek mouths, as well as Lime Pocket, have been other places to go for the flathead – that’s where Ryan went, using mullet gut to catch big bream, big flathead, and a mud crab as well.
The consensus is that squid has been the most successful flathead bait, although a fair share of the good-sized flathead has been caught on mullet gut. Talking of squid, there are plenty of them in the Passage right now. King and John used a small squid jig and a sinker (to counteract the fast tide) to catch four very big squid. Paul tells me he’s been squidding in the lock-canals and getting loads of them. Daryl wished he’d brought his squid jig with him when he was fishing for mackerel at Banksia Beach, because “they were everywhere I looked!”.
Daryl did well enough with the mackerel, though. He had seen a big school of baitfish and the school mackerel chasing them, so he cast out a nice, shiny spinner lure and straightup had a couple of 35cm beauties. Having a berley bucket out has been another way to get to the mackerel – the baitfish have been coming over to the berley, milling around, then ZOOM! – in come the mackerel.
Also chasing after all these baitfish are the little black cormorants. At this time of year, they gather up in squadrons – a dozen, thirty; I once saw a big group of more than 50! They push schools of baitfish into tight balls or up against a barrier. Then they go crazy, diving and coming up with a fish, quickly swallowing it then diving down again. Great fun to watch!
Whiting has been showing all along the yabby-banks of Banksia Beach, and live yabbies have been the best way to go for them. A couple of local blokes took their boat out in the afternoon last weekend, after the wind settled to the south cardinal. It didn’t take them long at all to get a good feed of whiting, using live worms.
There has been the occasional nice snapper hooked up over the past fortnight, some around the bridge, more of them at the ripples – of course, they were all thrown back. Josh and Misty were disappointed – their first catch of the day was a 40+ cm snapper (bridge, pillies), which went back in; then every catch for the rest of the fishing trip was pike! From August 16th, we can start keeping the snapper again – hopefully, the big ones will still be waiting for us!
Crabbing has been pretty successful lately. Brent has been putting out pots fairly regularly, usually near Turner’s Camp, and has brought home crabs every time, some of them around 15-18cm across. Russell put three crab pots in the water during a break and wandered out to visit them a few times. Unfortunately, he lost two crab pots over the week, but at least he had 10 keepers in the last crab pot.