Catches mean game on
THE region’s game fishing minded anglers are looking forward to the 2107 Mike Carney Billfish Challenge with renewed enthusiasm following a spate of small marlin and sailfish captures during recent weeks.
Hosted by the Townsville Game Fishing Club, the August 15- 19 event promises to be well contested with $ 40,000 in cash and prizes.
All billfish will be tagged and released to score big points while other gamefish species like mackerel, cobia and tuna can be weighed to win heaviest ‘ other gamefish’ prizes.
Information and nomination forms at www. tgfc. org
Skipped bait fools billfish
LONG- TIME game fishing enthusiast Wayne Spencer helped John Robert tag and release his very first billfish – a sailfish – when they tactfully skipped garfish baits at popular Bowling Green Bay grounds last weekend.
Fishing on board Robert’s 8m Glacier Bay cat Katana, Spencer said the sailfish was found hunting baitfish wide of Cape Cleveland on the northern grounds of Bowling Green Bay.
Daughter’s first marlin
TALENTED Mt Elliot angler Bernard Tracey has a love of all things game fishing and in particular, the pursuit of billfish.
These days though, the Townsville fireman and father of three says he derives more pleasure from watching his kids take the strike than turning the reel handle himself.
“Can’t wipe the smile off her face,” Tracey says of daughter Keira after the bubbly youngster caught her very first black marlin on Monday.
Tracey told how, while fishing near Lucinda, Keira hooked the little marlin after it was teased to the boat before being offered a live bait.
It’s called switch- baiting in game fishing circles and Keira did everything perfectly.
“It put up a really tough fight. She had to work hard,” Tracey said.
Keira’s hands blistered and muscles ached yet she was victorious and happily let the prize catch swim free after a couple of obligatory photographs.
“She’s really hoping to get her picture in the paper to match her brother Liam, from a couple of years ago,” a proud Tracey said.
No fewer than eight vessels anchored within good casting distance of each other at popular grounds ‘ Bunnings’ on Wednesday and most were satisfied pulling any number of modest size trevally species and small red fish including nannygai.
Anchoring was undertaken traditionally with pick, chain and rope or otherwise with an electric motor and usually set to ‘ spot- lock’, at least three of the vessels using the latter.
My Fish City Charters crew and I drifted only slightly wide of the cluster and were amazed when a whale traced a path through the sponsored by fishing lines and anchors. It was an adult humpback and somehow miraculously avoided contact with the ropes and perhaps the few ‘ electric anchored’ boats proved a saving grace.
Tale of the whale
MEANWHILE, about 10 nautical miles away at Salamander Reef, a similar but more spectacular event was unfolding.
An angler posted on social media, “Had a good day with some mates from NSW. Caught a few and seen whales,” he said on Facebook page ‘ Mates Fishing Photos and Stories’.
“We also seen a whale breach and land on the anchor rope of a 6m boat.”
The angler described how the boat was dragged forward about 30 to 40m before the anchor rope broke.
“Thank god ( because) it looked like was going under before the rope broke,” he said.
The crew of the vessel were obviously shaken, packed up and headed home apparently stunned.
Tough tides ahead
ANGLERS challenging a less ideal boating forecast this weekend will have to consider extreme tide differences in the lead up to Sunday evening’s new or dark moon.
Access and passage between creek and bay waters will be greatly restricted, if not impossible, in some systems with afternoon ebb tides dropping out at 0.21m and 0.22m respectively tomorrow and Sunday.
A 3.87m high tide at 8.46pm tomorrow equates to a near 3.7m run and is certain to ensure traditional bait fishing tactics are a difficult exercise.
The maritime maths are similar for Sunday and anglers might do best fishing during the mornings of both days where tide influence is significantly more modest.
Expect waters to be filthy dirty with such water movement and especially so if winds blow as expected.
Land- based anglers might use the low tide periods to explore otherwise submerged grounds and normally hidden structures while fishing the high evening tides for foraging predators like barramundi and salmon.
Cape Pallarenda, Three Mile Creek and Rowes Bay might give up fish – especially if live baits are used.
The harbour breakwalls will be attractive to barra enthusiasts should winds settle during the evening hours.