Fishing Report – January 28, 2022

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So far this summer has been fairly standard for fishing – we’ve seen a big variety of fish caught, lots of them just big enough to keep, and with a few impressive catches among them.

The weather bureau talked at the start of summer about the probable onset of La Nina, which brings frequent rains and stormy weather. Well, we’d have to say that they got that right, didn’t they? There are usually just a couple of sunny days, then another period of rain, strong winds and choppy water.

The rains have been regular, but not often heavy enough to flush out the creeks, so the flathead hasn’t been as steady as we’d like over January. We have still been getting the very occasional biggie but they’ve been hard to find lately, although there has been some luck using hard-bodied lures. The water being very warm, fishing for them on the sandflats is not always successful, although that’s where you’ll find them on the cloudy days. The best flathead spots over the past month have been the gutters, especially on a rising tide. That being said, Nev and his family were on the falling tide, using prawns for bait when they got a 45cm flathead near the Ningi Creek marker, as well as a big bream.

As usual, hanging out at the same spots as flathead over summer, are plenty of grunters and flounders. Squid is a versatile bait for the warmer months and is being favoured by grunter bream and tarwhine, especially the squid-head.

Ross used prawns to get himself some flounder, as well as garfish near the oyster leases in Ningi Creek. There should be a good supply of sand whiting, too, but they have been slow to get into the Passage so far. Simon and Rose were targeting them during a recent run-in tide, with live yabbies and a running sinker – a general whiting rig- but no luck. They did catch 13 keepers all up, starting with trevally and bream at the bridge, Moses perch at Banksia Beach and some good dartfish caught while trolling, but what they really wanted was some nice sand whiting…

A few bream are being picked up all through the Passage, most of them are only just legal size, but good enough. Near the oyster leases just north of Ningi Creek, you should be able to get some good bream, you could also try north of Toorbul – the mouth of Elimbah Creek has been a good spot. Craig had a good time there and brought in a few bream. He said that prawns were the only bait that the bream were going for. Greg also thought the same when he used prawns to catch three bream, near Shag Island.

These weather conditions are likely to make snapper and sweetlip a bit restless and not so inclined to chase a bait or lure, but we’ve certainly been getting a good share of them in the past few weeks. After the December rains, there were reports of really big snapper in odd places – up at Toorbul and out at Skirmish Point, but you don’t have to go as far as that – from the ripples to White Patch has been doing just as well.

A reminder here: there is a stretch of beach just north of Pacific Harbour – it’s signposted “Kakadu Beach” and is an internationally protected summer resting area for thousands of migratory wading birds. Just off that beach is the location of some specially built oyster-shell cages, which are the basis of a so-far quite successful oyster regeneration project. Please don’t pull up at the beach or anchor close to the oyster project – the migratory birds need space and peace and the oyster cages can be easily damaged by your anchor. Drifting is usually the better way to go, anyway, because it takes you over a lot of underwater structures, which the fish love to hang around!

Crabbing has been pretty good right up in the creeks – Connor, Jack and mates have been getting huge muddies up at Elimbah Creek, using mullet and squid some really big bucks!