Over the last decade or so shark attacks have been on the rise up and down the east coast. After every attack, there are always the people that believe in culling a few sharks and then there are the people that believe in protecting the sharks. I believe there are a number of reasons why we have seen an increase in shark attacks and also an increase in shark numbers.
Probably the main two reasons would be the fact that more commercial and recreational fishing is occurring, and hundreds of tonnes of fish are being taken from the oceans every year. Also, its against the law to take or kill sharks over 1.5m in length. So basically we are protecting the apex predators in the ocean but overfishing their food sources. Another factor is the huge numbers of people these days engaging in many different types of ocean activities including kayaking, surfing, paddleboarding, swimming, diving, snorkelling, spearfishing etc.
Great conditions and some quality eating reefies, can it get any better.
Many people underestimate the numbers and size of the sharks that are lurking up and down the coast, and still continue to swim or surf around dusk and dawn. Many of my old professional fishing mates agree that the shark numbers have been on the increase over the last decade or so. I personally can see both sides of the story and agree that it wouldn’t hurt to cull a few bigger more aggressive sharks around popular areas. But also agree that you are entering their domain and for them not to be hunted and killed. Generally, most sharks are migratory and will swim the entire length of the east coast on the current lines.
Some will travel the same route every year stopping off at certain points or beaches to feed. The 3 most dangerous sharks in Australia are the great white shark, the tiger shark and the bull shark. More than likely a sharks initial bite is usually a taste test. The sharpness of the teeth are amazing and it’s easy to see why victims lose limbs or die from severe blood loss after an attack.
Nice 50 to 60cm duskys for the table
Spending many years freediving in the coral sea with tiger sharks, hammerhead sharks, bull sharks and oceanic white tips it’s amazing to see how the moon seemed to affect the feeding patterns and behaviour of the sharks. The sharks become a lot more active and aggressive after the moon rise and stayed that way until the moon set. On many occasions spearfishing a few sharks got that little bit close but being aggressive and swimming towards the shark with no fear seemed to almost scare the sharks off.
Having a loaded speargun did help .. lol…Eventually, I could sense in the water through the shark’s movements and behaviour, the difference in patterns according to the moons. After spending years targeting big sharks on drumlines, and heavy tackle in the Moreton Bay area I soon noticed a similar pattern also. Obviously with current regulations on shark fishing and shark sizes you cannot do what we used to do in the good old Vic Hislop days of getting towed around in a 4m tinnie for an hour or so drumlining a 4m tiger shark. Yes, I used to call that fun, but unfortunately, it’s been illegal for recreational fishers for over 18years now.
Lately, we have been padding baits out off 2nd and 3rd lagoon and catching hammerheads, bull sharks and tiger sharks. Most are over 1.5m so they have to be released. Now back to what’s being caught around the area this month. The summer whiting is widespread throughout the passage at present and there is some great size fish and also good numbers around. Live worms, in my opinion, the only bait to use for summer whiting. Using long shank bait holder hooks keeps the worms up on the shank of the hook and makes it that little bit harder for the whiting to pick them off. Generally, whiting hook themselves. The flattys are also pretty thick also.
Yummo the first taste of muddies for the season.
Soft plastics, pillies, live baits and hardbodys catching plenty of fish. Look for current eddies, coffee rock and weed patches. This is where flattys lie in ambush. Mangrove jacks really starting to fire up and fish over the 4kg mark getting caught up the passage creeks. Live baits, plastics, hardbodys and flesh baits working well. Look for snaggy, rocky, deep creek bends with plenty of cover. The Banskia and Bongaree canals holding some great fish also. Plenty of bull sharks up the passage with a mate of mine catching 8 one night, with 1 shark going 2.2m in length.
It’s surprising how far upstream these bull whalers will travel. There also has been some huge trevally and queenfish smashing the baitschools throughout the passage. Poppers and plastics the go for these brutes. Being in the right place at the right time the only way to target these fish as they move through pretty quickly. There’s been a few muddies starting to show up but few and far between. The sandies have been coming on nicely and really they can be caught all year around.
Out offshore there have been some great mixed reefies getting caught. The cobia, mackerel and tuna have just started to really show up in good numbers over the last month and will continue to fire over the next couple of months.Blue marlin,black marlin,dolphin fish and tuna getting caught off the cape and out to the shelf. So as the weather warms up and the summer season approaches get the boat, camping, crabbing, fishing gear ready and get out and enjoy this lovely part of the world. “And don’t destroy what you come to enjoy ”