Boaties ramp up the fun
SUPER boating conditions ensured local boat ramps were a hive of activity late last week, with many retirees wondering if anyone in Townsville indeed worked.
The Coastguard ramp was filled to capacity during early morning hours of both Thursday and Friday, and the weekend was not much different as boaties jostled for position and eager to point their vessels towards reef destinations.
Long- time professional skipper Ian Brown told me anglers had good reason to find reef destinations a number one priority, such is the quality of fish found in recent weeks.
Brown, well- known operator of charter boat True Blue, said coral trout were fat and red throat emperor or lippers plentiful at most reefs wide of Townsville.
He said the best catches had come from deeper waters between reefs but admitted sharks still proved a big problem a good deal of the time. When talking of mackerel, Brown indicated there were plenty around showing me a photograph of a monster fish that surely exceeded 100 old- fashioned- pounds.
It was a mackerel that few would dare serve up on a dinner plate for fear of ciguatera poisoning but an incredible critter nonetheless.
Luke’s personal best
THE spanish mackerel caught by young Luke Neill on Saturday morning was a much more palatable model.
Fishing with incredibly keen fishing dad Ronnie Neill, Luke towed a bait close to Cape Cleveland to snare his biggest mackerel to date – a fine fish of 130cm and about 15kg.
“Luke and I got to the ramp at 3.30am Saturday morning and there were only two parks left,” Neill Snr said of the demand for boat trailer space at the Coastguard launch facility.
Neill said the early start was necessary to secure a parking spot given the sublime boating conditions and certainly worth the effort, with the experienced angler recalling an impressive strike rate on trolled wolf herring baits.
“We took four wolfies ( herring) and one was smashed in half, we lost a whole rig to another mackerel but nailed two spaniards on the other baits,” he said.
Neill showed his son the finer points of mackerel fishing when he claimed a monster mackerel of 160cm long and close enough to 25kg soon after sunrise.
However, trolling was suspended when an expected influx of boats in the immediate Cape Cleveland area made the tactic difficult at best.
“So we went to Sally ( Salamander Reef) and caught a good trout on a vibe lure and later headed back to the Cape where Luke’s wolfie got slammed,” Neill recalled.
“It was his PB for a spaniard and he is one very happy kid and still got that ear to ear smile.”
Diamonds a big lure
THE Cape was also kind to visiting Wollongong youngster Byron Pearce who fished the popular spot with dad Andrew early this week.
Still buzzing from their Townsville 400 experiences, Byron stepped up a gear to catch his very first spanish mackerel and like Luke Neill’s fish, it fell to a wolf herring bait and was near identical in length and weight.
The Year 12 student wasn’t finished though, he and his father mined a great catch of diamond trevally from under the headland lighthouse.
Byron dropped a locally made Gimp soft plastic vibe lure to fool his very first of the species while Andrew followed suit, catching his maiden diamond on a smaller model Trollcraft vibe.
Competition is hot
THE Townsville Bulletin/ Old Dog Lures Fish of the Month continues to be well- contested with plenty of entries flooding in for the July competition.
John Kratzmann is justifiably proud of his 21kg spanish mackerel caught near the Burdekin’s Cape Upstart during the recent school holidays.
Kratzmann used a wolf herring to snare his prize catch while Nick Thresher, from Victoria and holidaying with Townsville family, sponsored by entered a pic of a wonderful golden trevally.
“This is the largest fish I have ever caught in my life,” Thresher said.
Thresher told how an epic battle ensued after the fish was hooked on flimsy 4.5kg line.
“It took 23 minutes to get it into the boat once hooked ... using a rod rated up to 3kg. It towed the boat for around 200m, measured 90cm and weighed 18lb ( 8.2kg and estimated).”
Thresher was especially happy when he released the big fish and it swam free.
For your chance to win some fantastic handcrafted Old Dog timber lures, send your fishy photographs to eddie@ fishcity. com. au and be sure to include a few details of the catch.