Un­der the weather feel

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION - with Ed­die Rid­dle send us your catch news and photos: email ed­dierid­dle@ fishc­ity. com. au

GARRY Dunk­ley from the Fish­ing Ware­house was far from the ju­bi­lant fella that most are ac­cus­tomed to when I spoke to him. I wanted to talk fish­ing and he freely ad­mit­ted the latest bout of crook off­shore weather was wear­ing him down.

“I‘ ve got no re­ports,” he said. “Other than a few dog­gies ( mack­erel) that are be­ing caught in the ship­ping chan­nel there’s not much to tell … and some kids are find­ing a few whit­ing and flat­head along the lo­cal beaches dur­ing the first week of the hol­i­days.”

Dunk­ley was as truth­ful as he could be but selling his fish­ing re­port prow­ess short be­cause that’s as good as it got this week.

A per­sis­tent south­east­erly in­flu­ence lick­ing the en­tire Queens­land coast­line has main­tained off­shore seas at bet­ter than 1.5m, en­sur­ing jour­neys to shoal and reef ar­eas are un­com­fort­able in even larger craft, while those con­tem­plat­ing such trips in more mod­est- sized ves­sels are am­bi­tious at best.

Dunk­ley said the keen­est an­glers were spend­ing time ser­vic­ing their reels, re­plac­ing cracked and bro­ken guides on their rods and retro- fit­ting their Span­ish mack­erel lures with heav­ier hooks and rings.

“And a lot of blokes are stock­ing up on Chin Guard keels to swim their wolf her­ring and garfish baits,” he said. “They’re fit­ting the Chin Guards with big tre­bles in­stead of sin­gle hooks … which seems to pro­vide a much bet­ter hook- up rate on the Span­ish.”

Dunk­ley said he ex­pects plenty of mack­erel to be at pop­u­lar haunts in­clud­ing Cape Cleve­land, Sala­man­der Reef, Or­chard Rocks and Acheron Is­land. Ghosts’ grim toll THE Hinch­in­brook Chan­nel has given up a stag­ger­ing 144 unat­tended and aban­doned crab pots dur­ing a three day clean- up and com­pli­ance ex­er­cise by Queens­land Boating and Fish­eries Pa­trol ( QBFP).

Aban­doned fish­ing gear is a grow­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sue with num­bers be­ing re­cov­ered on the rise, ac­cord­ing to QBFP dis­trict of­fi­cer Rob Ibell.

“Some of the pots found had been re­ported stolen and were re­turned to their right­ful own­ers,” Ibell said.

Much of the equip­ment re­cov­ered was con­sid­ered aban­doned or lost but was still catch­ing fish and crabs.

“Fish­ers need to make sure they re­move their gear from the wa­ter when they’ve fin­ished fish­ing so it doesn’t un­nec­es­sar­ily en­trap, kill or in­jure wildlife,” he said.

This is re­ferred to as “ghost fish­ing” – the term for lost or aban­doned fish­ing gear that con­tin­ues to catch fish and other wildlife and it’s a ma­jor en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lem.

Ibell said lost fish­ing gear – par­tic­u­larly pots and nets – also pre­sented a safety is­sue for boats.

“Lost gear that is sub­merged can dam­age boat mo­tors and present a safety risk to boat­ies,” he said.

Ibell pointed out that it is illegal to in­ter­fere with gear you didn’t set, even though it might seem lost or aban­doned, and an­glers should re­port sus­pected lost or aban­doned gear to Fish­watch on 1800 017 116. Bream on the bite MEAN­WHILE, bream re­main ac­tive in south­ern creek and river sys­tems and of­fer an­glers a wor­thy al­ter­na­tive when winds blow too hard for off­shore ex­ploits.

Re­ports of near bag limit catches have come from an­glers fish­ing within Mor­ris­sey’s Creek and the Bar­rat­tas Creek sys­tem while larger fish are keep­ing an­glers keen when they fish any num­ber of non­de­script creeks within Bowl­ing Green Bay.

Bruce Glanville and a mate pulled a re­cent haul of fish from Mor­ris­sey’s which in­cluded no less than 19 bream and a hand­ful of cod, the catch also sweet­ened with both mud and sand crab cap­tures.

The pair re­turned just a few days ago and told of another 15 qual­ity bream that were slipped into their ice­box.

Des Car­ring­ton and son Richard were never go­ing to di­vulge the Bowl­ing Green Bay creek from which they fooled more than a dozen bream each mea­sur­ing bet­ter than 34cm.

The pair used mul­let fil­let baits to en­tice fish from the lead­ing edge or up- cur­rent side of deeper holes within the creek.

Car­ring­ton se­nior said smaller bream and grunter were hun­gry when baits were cast into the hole and slightly down­stream, how­ever the largest fish seemed to hold place up- cur­rent and pre­sum­ably pick­ing off the morsels as they flow with the tide and into the holes.

Week­end weather pre­dic­tions seem to be more of the same with me­te­o­rol­o­gists sug­gest­ing winds will main­tain 15- 20 knot in­ten­si­ties and mostly of a south­east­erly na­ture and seas still some­where be­tween 1.5 and 1.8m.

Tides will slowly drop back to “an­gler friendly” sta­tus within the es­tu­ar­ies fol­low­ing yesterday’s peak­ing full moon, the big­gest run be­ing the evening flood tides fol­low­ing the late af­ter­noon low tide pe­ri­ods.

Mon­day’s Show Day hol­i­day is tra­di­tion­ally a dog­gie mack­erel hunt for many an­glers and those will­ing to do their thing dur­ing the morn­ing pe­riod when winds are less likely to af­fect in­shore grounds will welcome a near mid­day high tide.

The Al­li­ga­tor Creek weed beds, the ship­ping chan­nel and West Point might all be well fished with cleaner wa­ters pos­si­ble near the high tide and in­cit­ing fish to bite.

TRAPPED: Cal­lum Ran­some shows the dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect that ghost fish­ing can have on lo­cal wildlife – this tur­tle drown­ing in a lost or aban­doned crab pot.

Chin Guard- rigged baits will fool mack­erel like the one War­wick Jack­son caught.

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