Let’s be cool about this

Townsville Bulletin - - LIFESTYLE -

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.

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