Boat­ies ramp up the fun

Townsville Bulletin - - LIFESTYLE -

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.

IT’S A WHOPPER: Luke Neill is proud of his best mack­erel catch to date – all 15kg of it.

Byron Pearce caught this di­a­mond trevally near Cape Cleve­land this week.

Nick Thresher rapt with his golden trevally catch.

John Kratz­mann fooled this fish with a wolf her­ring bait.

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