Warmer wa­ter stirs ocean ac­tiv­ity

Pilbara News - - Pilbars Sport - Tack­le­world Ex­mouth

Spring can bring some re­lief from colder win­ter tem­per­a­tures and this week it has heated up just that lit­tle bit more in the wa­ter.

Big bait balls have been en­coun­tered along the west side of the cape out­side the Nin­ga­loo Reef at about 50m depth. These bait balls have been sit­ting low dur­ing the low tides and push­ing up on the high tide to the sur­face.

These baits are what bill­fish an­glers would call per­fect mar­lin cook­ies. We jigged one of the bait balls to find fat yel­low tail scad, ap­prox­i­mately 25cm in length and 4cm in di­am­e­ter.

We believe this is why there has been less ac­tion for those an­glers trolling lures. Essen­tially, the bill­fish are most likely pre-oc­cu­pied with the plen­ti­ful bait.

Pic­tured this week is a screen shot of some of the bait balls that are thick for a good 20m-plus in depth and show preda­tory fish, most likely bill­fish, around them.

Blue swim­mer crabs have con­tin­ued to be caught in the gulf, with the odd mud crab show­ing up as well. In­ter­est­ingly, the blue swim­mer crab is the most sought-after recre­ational fish­ing species in WA, ac­cord­ing to the Depart­ment of Fish­eries a few years ago.

Be­tween those caught us­ing drop nets and fresh prawns us­ing cast nets, it’s cer­tainly worth­while hav­ing your net­ting li­cence. If you’re not sure how to use a cast net, drop in and get a one-on-one les­son at Tackle World.

The wa­ter clar­ity over the last few days has been sen­sa­tional. While trav­el­ling at speed out of the ma­rina, the ocean floor was eas­ily seen in depths over 5m. The wa­ters around the Mu­iron Is­lands was crys­tal clear as well, and in some ar­eas vi­sion in 8m depths was easy from a boat.

This, with favourable wind con­di­tions and lack of swell, has en­cour­aged spear fish­ing en­thu­si­asts. Jeremy Telfer headed out with his mate Liam from Perth and Matt Gates to tar­get some red em­peror in deep wa­ter. Jeremy has free-dived over 30m and is ex­cep­tion­ally fit. The best fish for the day was the red em­peror pic­tured this week that weighed more than 10kg.

Manta rays have been seen in very big num­bers along the in­side of the Mu­iron Is­lands and right in along the cape. Of­ten with these fish come lots of co­bia, that like to travel with mega fauna.

Of course, there are lots of whales around still, so a day on the gulf is al­most guar­an­teed to pro­vide some ac­tiv­ity.

The bait is start­ing to gather in the gulf as well, which also brings pods of sail­fish, not to men­tion big schools of trevally, tuna and mack­erel. If there is a forecast for calm con­di­tions in the gulf, I’d get out with some good lures, or bait jigs.

Pic­tures: Tack­le­world Ex­mouth

Matt Gates with a 10kg-plus red em­peror.

Big bait­balls picked up on the sounder, with preda­tory fish around them.

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