Catches mean game on

Townsville Bulletin - - LIFESTYLE -

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.

TOUGH FIGHT: Keira Tracey pre­pares to re­lease her first black mar­lin.

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