Fishin’ Maggie

The top weather on the weekend motivated lots of residents to chuck in their boats for a run on the water, although the neap tides also meant working hard for your fish. Although it wasn’t dead calm, with Northerlies and North Westerlies, it was worth just being out there looking at the scenery, the turtles, dolphins and dugongs. (We saw one off Liver Point and know what they look like on sounder now). There were plenty of School Mack’s in the big bait balls wide of Rollingstone Bay, and they were the only fish energetic enough to hit a trolled lure.

I heard a rumour that an Island resident was seen spearfishing the Molke. If that is so that is poor form. If I could get more information from anyone, confidentially of course , drop in and tell me. Marine Parks MI are always happy to follow up on law breakers. We have very few green areas, and locals and visitors need to have some fish around to look at.

James and I were pulling in a Mack off Liver Point on Sunday morning, when the two Coast Guard boats went past full noise, I filmed them going past, but being distracted was unprepared for the large wake that hit us. For a few moments I thought I might have to call them back to save us. We went on to have a fun Barra session at Young Bay in the very murky water, my favourite Barra conditions.

A couple of weeks ago, a 45 foot catamaran arrived into Horseshoe Bay from Cairns. The big cat went into the shallow waters in Horseshoe Bay, then tried to reverse the propellers to turn.

Due to a defect on install, as the folding props reversed they unscrewed and fell off into the murky waters. The cat left after installing 2 more props and left the job of locating the lost units to MC. Some of MC’s friends watching last week thought he would not succeed in the murky waters, but he pulled up the first one in short order, feeling along the bottom blindly, after breaking the area into search grids. That job is not for the faint hearted, and excites me about as much as scraping the growth underside of a boat in the harbour.

Matt and I saw a two meter bull shark caught up on the drum line at Rocky Bay on Saturday morning. The very distressed behemoth had wrapped up all the buoys into a ball, and was understandably cranky.

After reporting last week that West point was quiet, AJ and Co had a 6 Barra session on Tuesday. Using mainly dead bait, they caught a 65cm plus Barra each and dropped a further four hard hitting hungry Barra in what turned out to be a dream session.

Another fishing group at Westie caught 5 decent Grunter on old dead strip bait. You just have to be there at the right time.

Nev dropped a cracker of a Barra in the Harbour. Using braid straight to lure turned bad after a trophy Barra cut through with its big gill plates, leaped in the air, then dived and headed for the rocks.

Andi’s from Sandi’s Barra Story

Hi Dale. I have more time to go fishing at the moment while we are closed ( the restaurant).

It took me three days casting the net in Horseshoe Bay and the creek behind it to finally get some fine mullet, I nearly wrecked my net in the creek and had to fix it up several times.

On Tuesday we tried the 50 foot drag net of a friend, wading chest deep in the water for over 1 hour with no stinger suit, but finally we netted two big healthy mullet .

Two hours later, and way after dark.

A huge hit followed by fifteen minutes of line peeling action. Spectators were guessing a big sting ray or shark.

It didn’t jump at all but fought hard with the drag pushing its limit, it was finally in sight. I jumped straight in the water and took her in the gob and by the tail, and I got her. It was my first Barra. I have been on the island for over five years, but at 94cm it was a good first one. I released her safely, to fight another day.

Until next time gone Fishin’…. be back at dark-thirty

Cheers Dale

Fish’n N Fuel’n

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

For all of your fishing and sports hire gear. We hire and sell fishing rods, and snorkel equipment, plus sell bait, tackle, ice spear fishing equipment, toys, party, pool toys, and BIKE HIRE, SEGWAY TOURS and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24 hour Ice 7kg plus $4. New BIKE section. Rod and reel repair available.

Fishin’ Maggie

What’s New on the Rock

It’s that time of year when the Lions mane (Snotty) Jellyfish infest our waters. Sunday they were joined by bluebottles and the odd Box Jellyfish. While the Snotties are harmless they make it annoying to snorkel and spearfish, and the other types of course are painful. Be careful during water sports this month.

I saw hundreds of university students getting off the ferry on Saturday. I don’t know what was happening but my first thought was whether all the activity people on the Island had been informed, so they could open for business, or prepare staff. Can anyone fill me in on the details please?

LM told me his Dad pulled the bung out of his boat to drain the water out while driving his tinny, and held it up to show everyone, where it promptly got ripped from his hand by the wind and lost to the ocean. That meant of course the end of fishing trip and back to shore to FNF for a new one. If the motor had failed it would have been finger in the hole, or a frantic search for a quick alternative.

Sunday I saw another example of bad boatmanship, as some boaties pulled in too close to other boats in the shallows near the Marlin Bar. Lowering their anchor only a little they headed off to play. Because the anchor was barely on the bottom the boat spun 360 deg and started dragging and hitting other boats. Eventually they were located and the situation resolved. Some people need more training in boat skills and also etiquette.

Fishing Maggie by Land

Forget WestPoint for the moment, it has been suffering from lack of bait and has been extremely quiet. Although still a spectacular sunset picnic spot, particularly with the afternoon clouds providing wonderful colours, don’t expect to add fish to your dinner plate while you are out there. Fortunately other areas are performing much better, like Nelly Bay.

Sarah and Evan scored big Saturday night, landing a thumping Barra in the Harbour. Evan came in to FNF and bought a cast net and some tackle for a relaxing Saturday night fishing with his wife and a couple of coldies. Relaxing in the evening, their chatting and drinking was happily interrupted when the rod drag screamed as the line peeled off at a rate of knots.

After a battle the hefty Barra was beached and the couple celebrated with another drink. The best Barra to eat are our own golden salties.

Wayne joined the list of anglers catching big Mangrove Jacks. Even the Spearo’s have reported more Jacks than they have seen in years around the harbour, and Nelly Bay. Are they here following the bait?

From the Boats

Despite some rough days, some local boats managed to get out to the reef.

The Nelly Bay Trout boys went out Saturday and worked hard to get 10 Trout in what was a very quiet fishing day. Some trips are outstanding and some are hard work, but you can’t beat the anticipation on the way out, it’s such a buzz.

Nigel and his apprentice had a top reef trip working soft plastics and poppers around Brittamar Reef. Nigel had a stonker of a flowery cod smash his popper and go straight under a chunk of reef before he could stop it. Not a person to give up Nigel dived in and pulled the cod with lure from its hidey hole and got a pic plus his lure back. The boys had a great session working lures in close to the reef in their Tinny.

Ray and I went to investigate some new marks, midweek, with one looking like a possible mostly untouched wonky hole, (more investigation next trip.) It was a tough days fishing with the normal mix of Pelagic action, but no Reds for dinner. We were sitting off one mark that I hope is not known by many when we saw a boat heading straight for us. They barrelled out to within 10 meters and opened up a dialogue, asking what was down there, and being very invasive. They claimed they had no marks and were from Cairns. After a few minutes of their crap we left and the mongrels promptly anchored right over our mark.

The winds are looking to drop out Friday and Saturday. The fishing tip is… fish at night, the action is much better than the daytime fishing.

Remember, “To the world it may be just one fish but to me it is the world”

Until next time gone Fishin’…. be back at dark-thirty

Cheers Dale

Fish’n N Fuel’n

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

For all of your fishing and hire gear. Weekly specials. We hire and sell fishing rods, and snorkel equipment, plus sell bait, tackle, ice spear fishing equipment, Toys, Party and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24 hour Ice 7kg $4. Specials Bins

Rod and reel repair available.

Fishin’ Maggie

Magnetic Island had yet another dry week, as Tc Tatiana avoided the coast, and went south, while we all yelled “come back”. With our wet season still to materialise, things are looking a bit grim, (although no rainfall is a bonus for tourism.) Is it coincidental that the rain is negligible and bait schools and prawns are scarce?

One exciting event was the reappearance of a medium size school of Greenback Herring under the jetty from last Wednesday onward. That should bring in more predators, plus finally provide anglers live bait other than Hardyheads and Gar.
Can anyone tell me why the creek at the northern end of Picnic Bay is so black smelly and oily looking? Is it vegetation breakdown or pollution? It’s absolutely discusting, and looks worse than bilge sludge.
Fortunately for the Island the dry weather has not affected the Barra population. In fact those couple of big 2 hour rain dumps in some Townsville suburbs last week may well have pushed more of these top tier predators out of the mainland creeks and into the bay. They are absolutely smashing well-presented live baits, mainly after dark. Finding live bait may be tough, but it’s well worth the effort.

Several 90 cm+ Barra’s are currently residing in Gustav Creek. These big girls are jumping out of the water taunting anglers like Nev, but are yet to show interest in and lures. Several witnesses including reported watching the Barra’s jumping on the rising tides.
Congratulations to young Jordan who caught a cracker of a Barra, a sizable Mangrove Jack, and a decent Slatey Bream  last week. Jordan has been putting in the hours after dark, with excellent rewards for his efforts.
Well done also to Tobias, who sent me through his 84 cm Barra Pic, one of three Barra’s ranging from 80 to 90 cm caught at HB boat ramp area last week. Horseshoe bay is currently full of big Barra with the Spearfishing boys sighting plenty in the rocks and around the stinger nets.
MC, a keen Horseshoe bay angler has been taking a rest from fishing after a painful knife incident. MC was performing iki jime  on a top notch Coral Trout caught  in Horseshoe Bay, when he put the knife right through his hand requiring stitches on both sides. ( Iki Jime, or brain spiking has been found to be the most humane way to kill a fish. )
Without my boat working, I had to forgo my mangrove Barra session last week. Instead I thought I would have a play at Picnic Bay on Friday afternoon, landing 4 flathead in 1/12 hours, as well as dropping a monster flattie near the PS George Rennie. Cudas were a pain in the shoaly areas, as they just love plastics, biting the tails off way too many of my favourites. (Even when you get the jig head out of their mouths, the soft plastics are usually stuffed.)

The southern end explored, I then had a walk over the rocks on the northern end past the stinger nets, where things were much quieter, although very picturesque. Finally some squid jigging from the boat ramp.

I don’t know about all of you loyal readers, but Valentine’s Day, in the afternoon cooking fresh calamari caught at Picnic Bay and feeding it to the family? It doesn’t get much better than that.

There are good sized and active squid in the weed beds in Nelly Bay and Picnic Bay, and can be fired up easily, even during the day. They love bright lures on bright days. I use pumpkinseed and fire tiger to stir them up, then a small prawn jig for the catch.

All in all Picnic Bay is probably a better fish away from the jetty, and I should play there more often.

This week we have light winds, good tides and no excuses. Get out there.

Until next time gone Fishin’…. be back at dark-thirty

Cheers Dale

Fish’n N Fuel’n

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

For all of your fishing and sports hire gear. We hire and sell fishing rods, and snorkel equipment, plus sell bait, tackle, ice spear fishing equipment, toys, party, pool toys, and BIKE HIRE, SEGWAY TOURS and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24 hour Ice 7kg plus $4. New BIKE section. Rod and reel repair available.

Fishin’ Maggie

I saw a cartoon last week called “Under the Dome”. It was a picture of Townsville under a Stephen King novel style Dome, with heavy rain everywhere outside the dome, lightning and storms smashing against the dome, while we were snug and dry inside. It really feels a lot like that at the moment. Savage energy sucking humidity but very little rain. Sunday the 7th  had the first “feels like 44 degrees” on Weatherzone that I have seen this year. Now that’s ridiculously hot and humid.

Imagine then, leaping enthusiastically into a small uncovered tinny (Wok) at 3pm after a day’s work and motoring off for an afternoon fish. You definitely earn every fish you catch, let me tell you.

We just got the quote to repair our Yanmar motor on our big Savage and it is nearly $20k, (OUCH!) so that boat may be out of order for a while, while we find a rich relative. I may be reduced to the fishing with the 3m 4hp for a little while, but with the weather the way it is there are few reef trip opportunities anyway.

While the weather is crap, don’t forget our wonderful Townsville Barra Farm to hone your Barra skills before chasing the big one around the Island. With Barra up to 1.2m in the big lure only ponds, and plenty of smaller Barra in the other ponds for the kids to catch, it is always a fun day on the mainland. The website is www.barrafunpark.com.  They have a fun kids water park, cable skiing, BBQ’s and picnic areas and are reasonably priced.

Congratulations to Jye V. who cracked a perfect Barra in the mangroves on lure to start the 2016 Barra ball rolling. Fishing the Tinny with Josh, the boys set some crab pots, and motored off to chuck lures for a while. The big Barra completed some fantastic aerobatic manoeuvrers, before being brought to the boat for Pics. Great Fish Jye
Matt J. will always wonder what he might have had on his line late last week. Sitting quietly fishing with Scotty on the Concrete block at Nelly Sunday night, Matt hooked “the big one” on a 6lb 4’ Tackle Rat combo. Never one to give up. Matt spent 1.5 hours fighting the monster before finally losing it in a frustrating snap off. Mangrove Jack? Trevally? Shark? Matt will never know and is going to upgrade his gear with his birthday vouchers. Happy birthday Matt.

It’s always great to be back on the island, after a trip down to Sydney and Coffs Harbour. The weather was a lot milder than here, and of course the fishing was much quieter, on the odd occasion I had a chance.

When I was in Sydney visiting my children, (after the surprise engagement of my daughter Cassie) I managed to get one fishing session in, for Rainbow and Brown Trout. Talking earlier about sitting in a tinny fishing in the stinking hot sun, well this is the exact opposite.  We rose at 3:30am, keen as mustard, 2 kayaks strapped to the Mazda 3, as well as tackle bags and food preloaded the previous night. After a quick stop to the 24 hour Macca’s for 2 large cups of wake up, we headed up the Blue Mountains. After driving 1.5 hours in fog, we arrived at the destination, a pristine lake nestled in the valley, with only a few coffee cups and beer cans on the shores showing evidence of previous anglers. We had 2 kayaks, one a state of the art Hobie Revolution fishing Kayak with Mirage foot drive and all the bells and whistles, (my sons rig), and the one I had hired from Emu Plains. Mine was a $200 when new, which was a long time ago, no name, bum wetting piece of cheap Chinese plastic with no rod holders or plugs . The air was crisp and cool and the water soaking my butt was freezing. We paddled quietly off to play with some elusive Brown and Rainbow Trout.

2 hours of the serene outback fishing that you see on the fishing shows followed, with water birds aplenty and the tiny plop noise of fresh water native turtles taking a breath. Trout were elusive and my butt was frozen to the seat with the cold water gradually soaking my shirt as well. We hooked up two brown Trout and were prepared for a great days fishing when 2 things changed. The first was a blisteringly cold wind that started at 8 and was 15 knots by 9am. The other game changer was the sudden appearance of ski boats and jet skis, pouring into the lake from somewhere and roaring past at 60knots plus. Any kayaker knows how bad boat wakes get, and I reckon the boat wash was bigger than our waves during Yasi. Couple this with the wind and no foot control pedals, and my kayak had become uncontrollable.

In addition my lures were going in places no fish can swim, so needless to say we gave up and paddled back to the car. The trip back was harrowing. Try crossing a channel with speedboats and skiers flying past both directions at breakneck speed.

I think I will stick to Kayaking the Island for now, especially now the bigger croc has been caught. Hopefully there will be no more reports from Cockle Bay of Crocs for a while.
This week I’m off to catch a Barra, (after work and home duties of course.)Wish me luck

Until next time gone Fishin’…. be back at dark-thirty
Cheers Dale
Fish’n N Fuel’n
36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

For all of your fishing and sports hire gear. We hire and sell fishing rods, and snorkel equipment, plus sell bait, tackle, ice spear fishing equipment, toys, party, pool toys, and BIKE HIRE, SEGWAY TOURS and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24 hour Ice 7kg plus $4.  New BIKE section. Rod and reel repair available.

Fishin’ Maggie

Barramundi and Megnetic Island

– BARRA SEASON IS BACK!!!
The word Barramundi came from the aboriginal word burumunda just meaning large scale fish. It is now synonymous with this one species only.
Barramundi can grow as large as 55 kg, although 23 kg max size is more common.

Barra mature as males and switch to female at about 80 cm, but only in Salt water. Light tackle is now widely used for this extremely hard fighting fish, and very good strong leader is a must.

Many people don’t necessarily know, but hard fighting local salt water Barra can be found inhabiting almost all habitats of our amazing island. With their beautiful golden glow, tough fighting properties and very tasty firm flesh, they are much sought after.

The saltwater Barra has excellent edible qualities; it is said due to their diet of mainly prawns, although around the island they do love Gar and Poddy Mullet as well.

Magnetic Island has the advantage of picking up juvenile Barra from dozens of creeks, from Cape Cleveland all the way through to Hinchinbrook channel. These juveniles find an area around the island with protection and a good food source, and grow nice and fat on the abundant small prawns and bait fish.
Around the island, the average ages of Barra that are regularly caught are about three hours to 4 years old and size from 55 to 75 cm. From yesterday, the boats start rolling, from town and they do get slammed very hard from now on.

I believe firmly that soft plastics are the best way to target Barra, retrieved very slowly. Another favourite method, especially at night, is with live Mullet which can be caught at many bays including WestPoint and Horseshoe Bay.

My one good tip for fishing Barra is to fish very close to structure, bait schools, beach drop offs and at the head of creeks. Find the prawns and even fish live prawns if you can bet some. Lure fishing is equally productive in murky and clear waters, with noisier lure better on slow tide days.

Fun Barra Facts

Like most Magnetic Islanders, Barra prefer water temps above 20°C and rarely visit Brisbane even for a holiday.

Barra can travel long distances. One tagged Barra was recorded travelling 622 km. Some locals won’t even travel to Picnic Bay because it is too far.

The big female Barra’s can produce at 32 million eggs, so if you can’t catch a Barra, it maybe your techniques need honing.

Fish of the Week

Our fish of the week goes to Sandor for a beauty of a parrot fish caught just off Orchard Rock.
Until next time gone Fishin’…. be back at dark-thirty

Cheers Dale

Fish’n N Fuel’n

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

For all of your fishing and sports hire gear. We hire and sell fishing rods, and snorkel equipment, plus sell bait, tackle, ice spear fishing equipment, toys, party, pool toys, and BIKE HIRE, SEGWAY TOURS and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24 hour Ice 7kg plus $4. New BIKE section. Rod and reel repair available.