Fishin’ Maggie

What’s New On The Rock

I went out with a mate during the week to the Northern Grounds. Although its still early in the official Marlin season, it’s still worth a few hours on the water to look for bait and drop the lines. Things were very quiet and no bait and no Billies, and not even a Mac to mess up the still spotless boat. On the way back my mate quipped, “Well Dale at least the boat stayed clean. That was a mistake. We were coming in full noise and this massive Wolf Herring launched out of the water in front of us, grazed past my head and landed with a thump in the stern, on the glistening white fiberglass. The resulting fish struggles flicked slime and scales all through the boat and we had to pull up and clean anyway. What a mess, I wouldn’t have minded if it was a Spaniard.

I finished the side console on the tinny, what a difference it makes not having a tiller steer on the 60 Mercury.  Unfortunately, I took cost saving short cut using an old steering cable re crimped. In the ways of fishing first day out testing the console Janie and I were flying along the edge of the Bommies near Bolger Bay when the steering cable snapped. The boat skewed sideways immediately, and with Murphy’s law and the laws of Torque in play, it turned towards shore instead of away. I turned off the motor immediately but there was enough momentum to hit the bommies anyway, what a thump. Fortunately, there was minimal damage but the motor cable, although snapped was still attached at the motor end making manual turning impossible. The winds were coming up and I had no mates in the water for a tow. I had to rely on moving Janie from side to side to try to steer all the way back to Picnic and Safety. After some trial and error we got it mastered and limped into Picnic Bay before the seas came up. Needless to say I have now put a new steering cable on, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Watch those death adders. Dead dogs and dozens of encounters with our death adders in the last few weeks has prompted me to warn again to be very careful. One yard alone had 12 adders residing at Nelly Bay

The next CLG meeting for the Ports Expansion meets on Wednesday. I see my role in the group as reporting facts to you and taking feedback from you to the Ports. Obviously, our big concerns are the dredge material. One of the main questions are how long it stays in suspension, after dredging, and its impact on our waters and tourism. Also, the massive expansion means much more maintenance dredge material which is normally dumped out near Cape Cleveland.  I have information at the shop if you want to drop in, more next week on this important community issue.

The emergency Generators remain on the Island as Ergon did not yet get our main line fixed, with other breaks in the line identified. We will be on 1 line to Townsville for a bit longer. Fortunately with low use of A/C units this time of year, one line seems to cope ok.

Fishing Maggie

Sean was telling me how good my Qantas lure was. Sean went down the Burdekin with his mates and had an absolute ripping session,. Fish were active everywhere. The other lures they had were underperforming but the red white Halco was the star. A 1.2 m Spaniard was the highlight, but the boys cleaned up. The star FNF lure was finally lost when a 3m Tiger Shark took the fish that took the lure. The boys fought for 20 minutes before they had to cut the line and lose the lure. What a great story. After Kyles nice Trout story on the same lure Sunday its satisfying to the results keep coming.

Spearing has been quiet due to fairly murky waters, although those who have had a go have reported big Barra and more of those big Trout still hanging in the caves and holes. The Barra are picky eaters as the water cools, so live bait is a must.  Horseshoe Bay is very quiet onshore but the structures around White Lady Bay hold big fish.  Speaking of WLB, If you have a kayak or tinny have a float across the structures on the low tide. It’s spectacular viewing, and also has at least 6 of Dr Braleys Giant Clams.

The crabbing has vastly improved post those with some big bucks caught in Nelly and WestPoint. That bit of rain seems to have had a small flush of the creeks, try your luck. For fishing, I’m recommending the jetty though, (still the current hotspot,) because fishing is the best on Maggie, Mack’s, Trevally Queenies and even Barra. Commiserations to a local I won’t name for almost landing an 85 cm plus Barra on the Jetty last week. He was working under the jetty pylons where Barra sometimes hang when he hooked up. She peeled line off as she went through the pylons trying to escape. He managed to coax the big girl all the way to the surface with everyone watching and was so close. The Barra had other ideas when the line slackened and flipped off at the last second.

Fishin’ Maggie

What’s Happening On Maggie

The flat barge sitting in Nelly Bay for the last couple of weeks has been fixing the broken Ergon powerline. With only 2 lines to the Island it was imperative that it was repaired ultra fast. The break occurred where the cable bent over the reef into the deeper waters. That power cable was over 30 years old so all in all not a bad innings. I guess the 4 big emergency generators will now be removed from the Island, crisis over.

Whilst on the subject of essential services, don’t we all wish they would fix our crap telecommunications one day, third world countries have better phone systems than Maggie.

I had a light-hearted argument in my shop on Sunday morning with a staff member who tried to refute my statement that there are no kangaroos on Magnetic Island. I told her they are the Allied Wallaby that are always mistaken for our national emblem. With perfect timing the next customer was Parks and Wildlife, who confirmed my statement.  (Thanks Chris.)

Some frustration for anglers now fishing at Horseshoe Bay, where the fish have become fixated on the jelly prawns and are very difficult to catch. (Research has shown that when Jelly Prawns are particularly abundant, sportfish can switch prey and feed on them to the virtual exclusion of anything else.) The only chance you have is to go very small and lure soft plastics that look like Jelly prawns, or fish just after dark. The little fellas  have also migrated further down the bay. FYI Jelly Prawns move A maximum 20 meters per day, based on a Townsville study where they dyed the prawns different colours and let them go again to track movement. Imagine finding pink blue and yellow prawns, you might give up drinking.

Our QLD Jelly Prawn species is Acetes sibogae australis and grows to only 35mm. (Incidentally Dried shrimp, Blachan and shrimp paste used in Asian cooking is actually a species of jelly prawns.)

On the only clear day last week, Mikki and I decided that it was time to do some work research (Yep it’s tax deductable,) and went to rediscover the Nelly Bay Snorkel Trail. A tip at low tide, enter the water at X Base and swim back to the trail, or you will get stuck waddling ungracefully through the very shallow weed rocks to get to the deeper snorkelling areas. We found the amount of colourful corals and fish well worth the effort. There were legal size Trout, although Mikki was too slow at dive and grab to provide dinner What we found particularly interesting was the dozens of honeycomb cod. Instead of hiding in small caves in the coral and rocks they were in fact anchoring themselves high on top on the coral with their pectoral fins and were unfazed with humans. Cods are a commonly caught fish around Maggie and are tasty eating.

(Did you know that if a cod survives to a year old it has virtually no predators from then on, other than humans.) The 3 giant clams were very healthy and we recommend you all take the time to snorkel our trails.

Picnic Bay Jetty – Hotspot

The Herring are getting even thicker at the Jetty, hanging around underneath and attracting the bigger fish for us super keen anglers, as well as the relaxed visitor. Spaniards are smashing the Greenbacks, and have caused many anglers to upgrade to steel trace and heavier line. As one local told me, you just can’t slow them down, they are too big. (We all know if you wait 2 hours for a big fish you don’t want to lose that sucker.) We also still have those fun size super fast Queenies line stretching GT’s, thumpin big night Goldspot Cod, and the odd super tasty pan size Golden Trevally smashing floated Herring. Pebbles also pulled some sizable squid in the weed beds after dark. Picnic Bay is the place to be, no doubts at all. (You Horseshoe Bay anglers remember where Picnic Bay is still? Keep going past the Ferry terminal. ) I’m heading down Wednesday Arvo for a bit of fun, work permitting. (Sadly we still have no seats or rod holders there at all, lets revisit that. Any Island Sponsors at all?)

Congratulations to Matt and Az for the 9 Mack’s and one massive Queenie in Horseshoe bay on my red white Halco super lure. Great job guys in the tinny, the bay has really been the only place to fish in the constant winds. If they don’t let up soon I might move to Cooktown for calmer conditions.)

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, bike hire and ELECTRIC BIKE HIRE, SEGWAY TOURS, car hire and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24 hour Ice 7kg $4.