Chill puts bite on action
Activity’s on hold but doggie mackerel swim into the void
MARINE Parks and Wildlife officers were on the job on Wednesday morning and despite glamorous boating conditions, they told of few fish caught from among the anglers spoken to during a routine patrol.
Just a yarn about a few doggies and a good spotted mackerel that some fellow had snared within Cleveland Bay had caught the young officer’s attention, and his account was similar to those I found back at the Coastguard boat ramp.
Fish were mostly difficult to come by and many attributed their lack of success to the sudden cold snap.
Meanwhile, doggie mackerel cost me a few bait jigs this week as I sought herring and scad from near shipping channel pylons.
Baitfish species weren’t as thick as I’d expected and when an occasional patch was found, the doggie mackerel were close by.
The doggies were not of great size; however, they easily exceeded the 50cm minimum legal size for the species. Whale etiquette HUMPBACK whales are making a welcome appearance in our waters and prove an easy distraction when the fishing is less than red hot.
The annual northern migration of these incredible mammals is in progress and boaties can expect some close encounters within inshore waters throughout coming weeks and well into September.
And while the experience is an incredible one with such enormous creatures close at hand, boaties might want to consider the rules and regulations surrounding encounters with the animals.
These laws govern the interaction of boaties and all species of whales and they are intended to protect both mammals and boaties.
No vessel of any kind is to approach within 100m of a whale.
A maximum of three vessels with a negligible wake are permitted within 300m, but no closer than 100m, of a whale, and jet skis are not allowed within 300m of the animal.
A vessel is defined as anything capable of carrying a person through or on the water including kayaks, surfboards and windsurfers, and “approach” might be defined as make way towards the animal while under any method of propulsion.
A drifting or anchored vessel might well be approached by a whale and this might, on rare occasion, present its own problems.
Pulling anchor or motoring away from an animal might only steer you towards another should a whale be travelling with companions, which is likely.
Generally it’s best to stay put and let the whale do its thing, unless you find yourself between a mother and her calf! A sharp knife might be kept within easy reach of the anchor well, should a whale fall foul of the rope or if a super- quick getaway is needed.
For more information check out gbrmpa. gov. au Whiting take the stage WHITING remain on the bite along northern beaches, with plenty of fat fish taken from Bushland Beach.
Grant Sheen says the whiting have been hungry for several weeks and it is a rare occasion where he and his young boys don’t catch a fish.
Peeled prawn baits are fooling the largest fish during the flood tides while yabby baits ( pumped at low tide) are fooling large numbers of smaller fish.
Marlin and sailfish continue to make good showings when anglers fish the northern grounds of Bowling Green Bay.
Andrew Mead of Aussie Barra Charters was looking for both billfish species when he fished wide of Cape Cleveland on Wednesday.
He’d fished in the area and told of bites from sailfish, marlin and school- size spanish mackerel. When I spoke to Mead yesterday he was working over a large bait school wide of the “Bunnings” hot spot and he told of a nearby boat that was involved in some billfish action.
My Fish City Charters clients enticed a bite from a small marlin when we trolled baits close to Salamander Reef.
However, the hook pulled free after a couple of quite spectacular jumps.
The South Australian lads were stoked to have seen the marlin eat a bait at close range, yet they were just as happy with a catch of school- size spanish mackerel. Fisheries health in frame FISHERIES Queensland is urging anglers to become involved in the Keen Angler Program.
The principle of the Keen Angler Program is to source fish samples – skeletal frames complete with organs and minus the fillets – from recreational fishers.
Of particular interest from fishers within the Townsville region is spanish mackerel.
The biological information gathered from samples collected from recreational and commercial anglers is used in part to assess the health of fish stocks.
Fisheries Queensland say these assessments help evaluate the effectiveness of fisheries management arrangements.
The Keen Angler Program relies on the voluntary participation of recreational anglers and participants need not be experienced or to fish regularly – they just need to be prepared to participate by putting their frames in a labelled bag ( provided by Fisheries Queensland in a sampling kit), and delivering it to a predetermined drop- off location – the Fishing Warehouse on Duckworth St.
The frames are routinely collected from volunteers such as the Fishing Warehouse and processed in a laboratory where they are measured, their sex determined by examining the gonads, and their otoliths ( ear bones) removed.
The otoliths are used to estimate the age of the fish.
For more information check out the Fisheries Queensland website or their Facebook page.
FRAME JOB: Fisheries Queensland is seeking mackerel frames, much like this one caught by Darren Wright early this week, as a gauge of fisheries health.
with Eddie Riddle send us your catch news and photos: email eddieriddle@ fishcity. com. au