Let’s be cool about this
AN EXPECTED cold snap set to sweep across eastern Australia and extending as far north as Cairns this weekend and well into next week might be eagerly welcomed by doggie mackerel fishers.
Traditionally, cool weather by northern standards incites a savage doggie mackerel bite during the tides surrounding the Show Day holiday, but Jack Frost seems about a week or so late this year.
The chance of record low winter temperatures might not be the cause of trembling hands trying to make a haywire twist this weekend, but more likely the anticipation of good catches of the first- class table fish.
The Alligator Creek weed beds have failed to live up to their fishrich reputation thus far this winter. However, that is likely to change this weekend with schools of small gar and herring certain to attract the pelagic predators in good numbers.
My Fish City Charters clients found a few doggie mackerel just a kilometre or so from the weed beds early this week when rough offshore conditions forced us to seek sheltered waters.
Victorian visitor Ben Clegg and local veterinarian Richard Amos endured significantly worse offshore conditions than predicted when they fished near the Mack Patches wide of Cape Cleveland early this week.
The pair trolled wolf herring and garfish baits with designs on fooling some quality Spanish mackerel, however, a couple of hours’ effort resulted in just one lonely mackerel that might have been confusing its ambitions with its capabilities – the 70cm undersized fish striking an 80cm wolf herring bait.
Spanish mackerel have a 75cm minimum legal size.
Clegg and Amos changed tactics and used a combination of metal jig and soft plastic style lures to fish closer to the bottom, where big fish were detected on the sonar.
The fish still proved far from hungry, yet the mates claimed quality hook- ups including those on cobia or black kingfish and golden trevally. Teenager’s tasty mark FINGERMARK or golden snapper catches have dwindled with the onset of the winter months although efforts by youngster Cliff Hancock during recent weeks would suggest that the species is as ravenous and accessible as ever.
Fifteen- year- old Hancock has been fishing with mate and fishing mentor Jamie Cook and claiming fingermark to an astonishing 92cm from shallow Halifax Bay waters. Live herring and squid baits fished in the rock and rubble- studded waters surrounding Burdekin Rock have paid big dividends when the pair have braved sloppy seas during the evening hours cloaking the highest winter tides.
Hancock and Cook claimed four fingermark better than 70cm apiece last week during the tide’s building to the full moon with the catch including big gold spot cod and a handful of grunter or barred javelin fish, the largest a tasty 65cm. Magnetic attraction ALLIGATOR Creek fisherman Mick Meiers says game fishingminded anglers are already finding good numbers of small black marlin when they fish the waters wide of Magnetic Island and Bowling Green Bay.
Meiers said he and his crew caught a little marlin close enough to about 15 kilograms last week and dropped another following a brief hook- up, however the fishermen might have caught more had the tunas not been so hungry.
Mack tuna kept the deckhand ultra- busy with skipping garfish and
eddieriddle@ fishcity. com. au swimming baits eaten with gusto almost every time the vessel was steered close enough to large bait schools detected near the famed “Northern Grounds” of Bowling Green Bay. Marlin take the bait CHARTERS Towers Road Fishing Warehouse manager Michael Winterton said he and mate Brad Harris raised five marlin, set the hooks into three and caught and released two when they also fished near the Northern Grounds on Monday.
He also told of vast bait schools and big mack tunas, “everywhere.”
Winterton indicated that he was excited at the prospect of excellent winter and spring catches of billfish when he uses his much- loved fly fishing techniques.
Meanwhile, game fishing minded anglers are sure to be looking forward to the 2015 Mike Carney Toyota Billfish Tournament. The five- day tournament will kick off on Tuesday, September 1.
For more information and nomination forms, check out the Townsville Game Fishing Club website www. tgfc. org
WORTH THE EFFORT: Local vet Richard Amos had his work cut out landing this metal- jig- eating golden trevally.
BOTTOMS UP: Ben Clegg went deep to fool this cobia wide of Cape Cleveland.