Fishin’ Maggie

Wrapping Up The Week

Does anyone know who towed a big old tinny way out past Horseshoe Bay and sunk it for a new fishing spot? Our Prawn Trawler owners would love to hear from you after it caught their nets and caused damage. That sort of stuff is extremely dangerous and destructive to trawlers and trawling nets.

Cockle Bay is being transformed as boats are being given marching orders by MSQ or simply disappearing. After the big Catamaran (formerly Sun Cat) was taken without owner permission, other boats have been given removal orders. Another Maggie ex residents’ boat has been removed from the water as a risk via MSQ and is now in dry dock in Townsville. I see the one in the Cockle Bay Channel is still there, many want it removed, although others use it as a navigation marker showing the start of Cockle Bay’s dredge Channel.

I wanted to stay away from dog stories this week, but some lovely locals were telling me they were confronted by an exuberant dog off leash and the woman nearly fell over, and being not well, she could easily have been injured. When she mentioned to the owner that the dog should be restrained very politely, she was subject to a verbal assault. I will say this, Maggie is home to many special people, yeah you know you are, but we all need to respect each other and especially respect our natural treasures. People don’t come to see dogs walking down the road with our wildlife is its jaws, as was posted last week on Facebook. People don’t want to be knocked over by your pooch. Half the money on the island is generated by tourism and we rely on it to survive. I’m sure you know everyone comes to see a Koala, it’s our big drawcard. We should look after them and dogs off leash equals a danger to koalas and more. (By the way baby Jedi is doing well at the Koala hospital.)

Here’s a new customer question for my “special” questions book? “Do some of the bays have more males than females, and which bay would have the most males?”  Now it’s not that I didn’t want to answer, I just didn’t want to know why he asked.

The Fishing Stuff

Yes, I will stop the Barra stories, except for these last 2. The final Barra caught just the day before Barra closure on the island a was mammoth 118cm monster caught at Horseshoe Bay by Matt during dinner on a mate’s boat. That’s tinny, by any standards. His mate Chris unfortunately, had been working hard on Barra each night at the boat ramp in the lead up to the closure. On the first day of closure, he changed his tactics targeting Fingermark, but you guessed it landed a big Barra instead. Totally devastated, he quickly got it back in the water and forlornly watched it swim away, with others watching as well. Timing can be everything, but at least Chris has had some success with big Fingermark off the beach. These powerful fish give nearly as good a fight as Barra and many think they taste better.

For those with Facebook, the video of 30 or more meter plus Barra smashing bait in the marina last week made riveting watching. We all know they are there, but they are just smarter than us, (me anyway) except when they gather to spawn, hence the fishing ban. Don’t worry they will still be there next year snapping your lines around the pylons. FYI meter Barra are about 8-9 years old and usually female so that’s why they are still beating us.

The run of top weight Flathead continue, are they schooling for breeding as well? Dozens of Flatties have succumbed to lures in Nelly Bay, Cockle Bay and Young Bay. 45-70 cm on the dropping tide these fish are getting more active than we have seen for a long time.

I see the Mackerel Gods have been protecting the Grey Mack’s big November run this year again with strong winds, just the same as last year. We will beat you one day, weather permitting. For the record Horseshoe Bay has seen some stonker Greys’s last weekend but this time they have guards, Spaniards and big Cuda’s, lure destroyers. Many local anglers running lighter Grey mackerel rigs have been cleaned up. Its good for business but bad for the pocket. Next week I suggest going up a notch, light wire, 50lb leader, and sharpen your hooks.

Those big Tuna are still smashing lures in Horseshoe Bay just off the points and in good numbers. Although frustrating when chasing Mack’s, they give you a damn good fight.   This weekend looks okay for boating, Sunday Monday and into next week. Let’s hope so, because the bait schools are thick!

 

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

Cheers Dale

FNF Outdoor Adventure & Hire Centre/MI Rentals

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

 

FOR ALL YOUR FISHING AND WATER SPORTS HIRE GEAR.

We sell the BIGGEST and BEST range of fishing rods & tackle, spear fishing equipment, snorkel gear, bait, boating and automotive needs, gift & party supplies, helium balloons, pool toys, bike accessories. We hire new Reef Boards for safe, easy snorkelling. We also have bike hire, car hire and electric bike hire, plus HUGE lolly wall and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24-hour Ice 7kg $5.

Fishin’ Maggie

Wrapping Up The Week

After a windy couple of weeks on the water, and pesky Northerlies at that, it was great to see some relatively good conditions return over the last few days. Plenty of anglers chucked their boats in and played on the calm side of Maggie on the weekend. Horseshoe Bay has been lumpy and weedy, and the brisk night winds claimed a yacht on Sunday night as the sizeable vessel dragged onto the beach near the boat ramp. Police attended but there’s very little they could do.

Matt H was snorkelling off Geoffrey Bay Friday, when he saw a glint in the water. He discovered an epaulette shark, with a coke can necklace. This poor shark had the base of a soft drink can, without the centre wrapped around its neck, and already cutting in to the flesh. Matt did some careful surgery, cutting off the aluminium, and let the shark go, a reminder that the consequences of littering can be fatal to marine life.

On the shark subject, Horseshoe Bay had another temporary beach closure as a small shark was sighted near the swimming area. This is always a sensitive topic, but I think anytime we are snorkelling reefs and the sharks are present, that’s a healthy marine ecology. However, I understand sharks and swimmers mixed together can be a risk, and authorities are duty bound to act. The shark issues are not one to be easily resolved but I hope the ones near where I snorkel are always well fed and lazy. I did read in the shark stats that 2 people were killed by Tiger shark attack many moons ago at Lodestone Reef where I love to snorkel with pristine coral and heaps of fish life. I think we have bigger chances of being in car accidents, but it’s the fear factor that keeps it in the mind.

The Koala Hospital has a new visitor, a very small baby who was the victim of human contact. The mother was on the ground and the baby was picked up by some visitors and the mother disappeared. Despite several searches from volunteers over several hours the mother has not been found and now the baby is in care. If you do spot a koala in a tree please do not climb the tree to try to pat or hold it, as some visitors to the island have been found doing recently. A reminder to enjoy our wildlife from a distance and if you see anyone climbing the trees or trying to pick koalas up please tell them this is not allowed and report the incident immediately to the Koala Rescue team in case of any injury or danger to the koala.

Contact Ali on 0428 785 488 or Jay on 0405 677 454.

The Fishing Stuff

Josh and the boys got a 700lb Black Marlin, that’s a monster fish off Flinders. The beast put up a huge showing. The boys just returned from 7 days 120 nautical miles out to see playing with Dogtooth Tuna, GT’s and of course Marlin. What a trip of a lifetime, big boats and plenty of beer included of course.

There were anglers out on the water chasing Barra before the season closure, which is now over, the Barra are safe for 3 months, (and no, they are not now called Pink Eyed Salmon.) Over the weekend, there were a couple of beauties caught but many stories of the one that got away. Matt lost 2 in the last 2 weeks at Horseshoe Bay and but landed an 85cm stonker off the ramp just after dark. Matt B also missed his big shot but landed a 65cm Flathead as a consolation prize caught what a catch! Chris got on top a beautiful Fingermark at the HB boat ramp and told me he was surprised to find them there. Horseshoe Bay holds good populations of Fingermark

Offshore, the Tuskers, Trout and bigger Fingermark have been turning up, as well as those big Mackerel and Tuna are still abundant, and the hot fishing reefs are Arab and Broadhurst. The Cape still has Mack’s but there have been a lot of Catfish in the weed beds.

In Cockle Bay the Flathead have been going nuts, Blue and King Salmon are about, for those anglers prepared to be patient and pick their tides. I have also heard reports of some quality Grunter being taken mainly on peeled prawn.

With the Northerlies the onshore fishing has concentrated in Nelly Bay. All action from the break wall of Nelly down to base, and with big mud crabs still on the chew, this has been a bit of a pain for the guys using live baits for the Barra and Queenies as the crabs are eating the livies before the Barra have a chance to find them. Still some good size Queenies being caught just inside the marina wall. Big herring have been the best baits, grabbed from Picnic Bay, along with good big prawn, plus the guys using lures had been hooking a few Barra at night, white noisy Tilson’s worked a treat.  It has been especially good to hear some good grunter have been caught as well, 60cm plus, their great size fish. It would be certainly worth a fish in Cockle Bay this week if you’re keen, it will be hot as, but that will get the Flatties going and they will be hanging around those concrete piles for sure. I see that there have been heaps of Flatties in Cockle, maybe it’s their breeding cycle as well, for so many to be in one area.

This is a good time to get out there and get amongst them and there will be plenty of opportunities too wet a line over the next month or so, so get ready to go and when the weather comes good make the most of it. Offshore especially at the Cape in the weed beds there have been plenty of squid around and that is a great way to boost your catch for the day 6 or 7 nice squid in the esky makes for a good feed of salt and pepper calamari rings, try the Razorback jigs, small ones off Nelly Bay, bigger in the boats.

REMINDER: Next Monday November 5th from 12.01am is the start of the second Coral Fin Fish closure which extends until midnight on November 9th.

 

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

Cheers Dale

FNF Outdoor Adventure & Hire Centre/MI Rentals. Your one stop shop!

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

 

FOR ALL YOUR FISHING AND WATER SPORTS HIRE GEAR.

We sell the BIGGEST and BEST range of fishing rods & tackle, spear fishing equipment, snorkel gear, bait, boating and automotive needs, gift & party supplies, helium balloons, pool toys, bike accessories. We hire new Reef Boards for safe, easy snorkelling. We also have bike hire, car hire and electric bike hire, plus HUGE lolly wall and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24-hour Ice 7kg $5.

Fishin’ Maggie

Wrapping Up The Week

A wonderful family in Arcadia lost both of their dogs to a Death Adder last week. This is the time where all snakes are moving around so remember to be cautious at this time of year and keep the leaf mulch cleaned up. Incidentally there is a study starting in November that is going to find and radio tag 14 Death Adders to study their movements.  On the surface that would seem to be some slow-moving tags. but researchers hope to learn more about the Death Adders movements.

In the other incident I was down at Picnic Bay beach chatting to Janie on the phone when I heard a lady screaming and the sounds of dogs growling and another yelping in agony. I jumped from the car and there were 2 dogs attacking a woman, and her little dog, Mia. The lady was walking Mia on a lead and was set upon by these dogs, that have allegedly been reported prior for harassing people at Picnic Bay. I grabbed the injured Mia and owner into my car and headed to the vet while someone called 000. Bill the vet came and started urgent surgery on the dog while Kerry ambo came and treated the very distressed Lisa’s wounds. This plucky dog, while in a world of pain and fear unfortunately had a go at Bill the vet while he was treating her. After Bill had done all he could he came in to FNF and we dressed his wounds. Sadly. the much-loved pet died 30 hours after the savage attack. The dogs who attacked the poor little mite were taken to Townsville by the dog catcher and euthanised. This is an incident that could have been avoided with the correct fencing to retrain the dogs. Even if your dogs are the Harry Houdini of the canine world, it is still your responsibility as the owner to ensure measures are taken to restrain them.  We have a unique island, but it can be destroyed by pets not properly fenced or leashed. Is there a plan for a dog park? It seems to me that in this instance 3 dogs have died unnecessarily, and there are no winners in these situations.

The Fishing Stuff

The Grey season is warming up just a little with a trickle of stories of intermittent fish mainly 60-95cm and moving fast. I went for a look on Saturday to test the repairs to my boat that have been ongoing. Cruising past X-Base I saw the most amazing sight. A Mack about 110cm in length launched out of the water and completed an arc, that at its maximum height would have tipped 4m. That’s twice the height of my boats Bimini. I did the obvious, gunned the Merc and took off over near the spot dropped back to 4.2kn and dropped the troll lines. Small white bait schools were there but that must have been the only Mack, no other predators were showing on the sounder. I’ve had a chat since and one pro reckons Mack’s do that manoeuvre when expelling roe, (sounds plausible but I haven’t checked.) I did end up getting my 5-bag limit but not till sunset, and much deeper out. Most were smaller fish, just over legal length. I get frustrated with filming because you often sacrifice landing the fish just for the love of getting footage. I had a chance to gaff a big one, (1m plus) as I hauled him in, he was oblivious to the boat, but I chose to pull the phone out to film instead, bad move. While I’m fumbling around it decided to rack off and pulled the trebles out on his way back down to safety. On Sunday I took Karl out for a spin and we got some bigger fish.

Coral Trout are easy prey now, ravenous and with empty stomachs after spawning. The 2 big fish I trolled up last week were both totally without any stomach contents.

John and Josh have headed out with 12 others to Flinders Reef for 7 days. That’s a dream trip out 120 Nautical miles. I can’t wait for the pics as there are some monster Dogtooth Tuna out there.

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

Cheers Dale

FNF Outdoor Adventure & Hire Centre/MI Rentals

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

 

FOR ALL YOUR FISHING AND WATER SPORTS HIRE GEAR.

We sell the BIGGEST and BEST range of fishing rods & tackle, spear fishing equipment, snorkel gear, bait, boating and automotive needs, gift & party supplies, helium balloons, pool toys, bike accessories. We hire new Reef Boards for safe, easy snorkelling. We also have bike hire, car hire and electric bike hire, plus HUGE lolly wall and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24-hour Ice 7kg $5.

Fishin’ Maggie

Wrapping Up The Week

All our bays received 30mm plus of much needed rain, wasn’t that awesome? So we should see a little greening of the dead grass, and a little less dust for a week or so, more of the Marsh Fly’s that had already started hatching and biting everyone, and hopefully some new growth on the Eucalyptus trees that the Koalas need.

Another embarrassing moment last week with a rental car, yep there’s’ always a story in retail and tourism.  I was pulled over near the Arcadia Hotel on the way to a gas delivery because one of my daughters had called me on the phone. We were having a chat and I had the windows up and the A/C on. Behind me the Kia Soul hire car was parked at Arkie’s, (that’s the funky Gangster style car with MI Rentals all over it, you can’t miss that one coming.) As we were chatting my phone went dead and I was calling out hello, hello loudly, thinking my phone had an issue. Suddenly, I realised the truth and quickly put the phone into Airplane mode. What happened? you guessed it, I had connected that car to my phone via Bluetooth last trip south and it auto connected. The poor buggers had started the car, and suddenly they hear guy and girl voices coming through the speakers, calling out “HELLO, HELLO TALK TO ME, ARE YOU THERE ??” It freaked them right out let me tell you, not part of your average hire experience.

There is a lot of negative feedback about the upcoming price rises in all drinks associated with recycling, the idea being to have a loading on all drinks and get credits for returns. Unlike Townsville we have no facility yet to get the credit for bottles. While great in theory the tax is fast becoming just another imposition on the Island. We are suffering rapid fuel increases, transport increases, grains increasing with drought and now packaging rises. FNF is investigating a returns system so stay tuned.

Mick and the boys were sitting in their boat Horseshoe Bay having a chill at the end of the day. A decent size adult Green Sea Turtle surfaced and gave them the once over before starting to do a leisurely dive. Seconds later the water surged and a 2m plus Tiger took the turtle from below in a frenzied attack devouring the unfortunate creature in seconds with the shell left to sink to the ocean floor. The guys were stunned, a rare thing to witness, nature at its most violent and yet so chillingly natural.

The reported Croc seemingly continues its circumnavigation of the island, presumably looking for a non-existent potential mate as it heads around Maggie. As it passed through Geoffrey Bay it startled an IGA staff member who pulled her dog to safety as the predator slid back into the safety of the warming waters. Having found no mates to play with my guess is this dude will head back to town, or already has.

Spawning Closures

The reef spawning closure has finished but there were a couple of issues that were reported to me about some locals fishing around the island that we all need to be aware of. Several people were noticed bottom bouncing in heavy reef fin fish areas. The concept about Fin Fish Closures is to avoid stressing them at all and in those times go fishing for pelagic’s and stay away from reef areas. Even pulling them up puts stress on the spawning fish, so please leave them alone. Catch and release for the sport of it is not the go either as this defeats the purpose. Next closure dates are November 5th through to 9th

The second thing to note was the reports on Tuesday that told of hundreds of adult Tarpon were seen packed up against the beachhead under the bridge at Nelly about 10 am, quite a spectacular sight, and very odd behaviour. I did some research, and it seems that after congregating and spawning at sea, Tarpon can swarm back into an area for a bit of chilling together in harbours and estuaries, how cool is that, and they were big fish too. Although the spawning seems to have coincided with Reef Fish they actually spawn more often.

The Fishing Stuff

Sight Fishing? There’s not much better fun to be had with lures. The ability to see the fish in the clear water and toss a lure in the path of the prowling fish and hook up. That’s the best feeling, seeing the magic as the fish moves through the water and strikes. Now on the island this experience is attributed to the magnificent and powerful Queenfish, a pelagic fish like none other, massive mouth, speeds past 20km/h with their thin but powerful bodies, aerial antics and the ability to fight to near death. Not rated as an eating fish, the books rate it as eat same day, but the truth is it is sold commercially as boneless fillet, firm meat for curries like Thai green.

West Point is seeing a run of these awesome fish, sweeping in for a feed run and taking well placed lures, soft plastics and shiny Twisties. Give it a go, over the flats on the low tide in shallow clear water.

Chris has a real conundrum. He works around the Peppers area and is watching the big Barra move through the harbour during the day. At one stage last week there were over a dozen Barra to 1m schooled up and taunting. Chris decided to drop a line while working. (There’s only so much an angler can bear to watch without taking a stand.

Check out the pic of the big Golden Trevally caught off West Point by Brett Povey from Bredbo NSW, near Cooma, (population 352 when he’s not away on holidays). The fish gave them quite a run before succumbing to become dinner.

Well done to the boys for catching a hard hitting 50cm Mangrove Jack on the western side of Maggie at night. The powerful Jack. Was caught by Ethan and Isaac and one of 6 big fired up Jacks smashing baits after dark. Great catch boys.

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

Cheers Dale

FNF Outdoor Adventure & Hire Centre/MI Rentals

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

FOR ALL YOUR FISHING AND WATER SPORTS HIRE GEAR.

We sell the BIGGEST and BEST range of fishing rods & tackle, spear fishing equipment, snorkel gear, bait, boating and automotive needs, gift & party supplies, helium balloons, pool toys, bike accessories. We hire new Reef Boards for safe, easy snorkelling. We also have bike hire, car hire and electric bike hire, plus HUGE lolly wall and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24-hour Ice 7kg $5.

Fishin’ Maggie

Quick Chat

I enjoyed watching the island recycling in full swing over the last week. As the council clean-up commenced everyone put out their rubbish. There were mad dashes around as people grabbed treasure from others trash and relocated to their houses. I think it was just a relocation of home goods between the Bays. I hope some trash actually left the island.

Travelling recently, we drove off the barge and decided to grab a quick breaky in Palmer St. We stopped at a restaurant with a sign out the front advertising Breaky to go fast. We ordered breaky burrito. After 20 long minutes we finally got a Styrofoam takeaway container with sections for the different food stuffs. There was a burrito, baked chilly beans and salad. We went back in and asked for forks to eat the beans and other stuff. The staff walked around for a minute then came back and said, “No we don’t have any.” Ever tried to eat chilly beans with fingers?? Apparently, the word ready to go is subject to different interpretations?

Fishing The Herbert

One of the objects of my recent father and son trip was to get Sooty Grunter, a rugged northern fighting freshwater species on my bucket list. We selected the Upper Herbert River north of Ingham and packed the freshwater gear, beer, some food and headed off for the next adventure.

Day one we trekked deep into the upper river over millions of loose river rocks, (Aren’t they tough on feet) and amazingly picking our first spot carefully we both bagged nice Sooties. first cast. For us the trip was straight away a success, another bucket list fish checked off. We trekked kilometres through the riverbanks trying different lures and filming nature at its best. At the end of the long hot day we dragged our sore and sorry bodies into a motel in Ingham for some much-needed showers, cold Crownie’s and a good rest. The lovely reception lady asked about our day, so I proudly told her we had been fishing for Sooty Grunter up past Abergowrie and she looked at me like I had two heads. “What do you think you are doing? Do you know the size of the crocs out where you are fishing”? I listened as she told me stories of the 4m crocs waiting in the deep pools. I felt my confidence being sucked out like pulling the plug in a warn spa. Ten minutes later, room key hanging loosely in my hand, I went back to the car. Mitch said, “What took you so long?” so I filled him in on the potential for hungry 4m reptiles to rip us limb from limb. It was a sobering thought to end the day, but with a few beverages and some sleep, day 2 Mitch hooked a 60 plus Barra but on 10lb leader it was no chance in the small river pool. Ultra-cautious in the deeper waters, the casting was difficult with the need to stand in the water offset by the possibility of losing the legs we needed to fish with. (Life in the tropics is tough) Over the duration of the trip we landed plenty of quality Sooty Grunter and freshwater Tarpon, but all the Barra turned out to be self-releasing on our light gear.  After the dire warnings we were given, the temptation to hang over the deep pools and toss into structures was tempered by a strong sense of preservation. Having said that we spotted no crocs in our 3 days and left wondering if it was an elaborate and widespread hoax to protect an amazing freshwater fishery. Go check it out.

On that note there is Heli fly in fly out trips to save all the walking, if you have a lazy grand each. Townsville Helicopters will fly us to pristine locations and back with some Mud crabs thrown in.

The Fishing Stuff

The first decent Greys are appearing out around Rattlesnake Island as the early season starts. Traditionally the Greys congregate up that way and feed before moving out toward Palms until November when they pack around the island for 3 amazing weeks of freezer filling action. Several Greys and a big Spaniard have been feeding on Herring at the jetty, along with Coral Trout. Trout of course are off the menu until 10/10 as they and other reef fin fish are aggregating to spawn and obviously highly vulnerable. If you are wondering why fin fish closures, at certain times certain species get together for a massive free for all spawning event, imagine thousands of Parrot fish all getting together for some fun days chatting to the girls and…stuff, (like a big youth disco) and anglers come along and clean them all out while they are in a party mood. No good for sustainable fishing, hence the closures.

West Point evenings have been an absolute fishy gold mine with bait schools congregating on the big evening tides. Grunter to 50 cm, Jacks, Trevally and all manner of awesome fishing is happening so get out there all week for great fish. I went fishing and it was slow until this one 40-minute flurry saw 7 flathead and 1 Barra smash my soft plastics. Wednesday between 7.45 and 8.25, no reason for it, just bite time. Preparation, research hours and some luck equal fish.

Congratulations to Gary on a massive 1.2 kg Queenie on spoon in Horseshoe Bay

 

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

Cheers Dale

FNF Outdoor Adventure & Hire Centre/MI Rentals

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

FOR ALL YOUR FISHING AND WATER SPORTS HIRE GEAR.

We sell the BIGGEST and BEST range of fishing rods & tackle, spear fishing equipment, snorkel gear, bait, boating and automotive needs, gift & party supplies, helium balloons, pool toys, bike accessories. We hire new Reef Boards for safe, easy snorkelling. We also have bike hire, car hire and electric bike hire, plus HUGE lolly wall and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24-hour Ice 7kg $5.

Fishin’ Maggie

Accidental Car Theft

We had just picked up someone from the ferry for a hire car, a silver RAV4, and were doing their paperwork when a visitor from Tropical Palms hire cars came in for a chat about fishing. We sorted out both customer’s needs and were walking our hire car customer over to his vehicle when the Tropical Palms guy jumped in it and drove away. So, I’m running after the car (I hate running) shouting at him to stop and I’m sure my customer thinks I’m a loony, but the guy keeps going. I come back and explain to my guy that his car was the subject of accidental theft and he bursts out laughing. Eventually the guy realises the car isn’t his and sheepishly drives back up to the store. Our first car theft, luckily not a real one!

Tommie The Sweet Mummy Koala Attacked By Dogs

Distressingly this week 2 dogs at a property on Mandalay Avenue attacked and severely injured Tommie the nursing mother koala that lived opposite the shop and has caused so much happiness to so many. Tommie’s antics and her so cute baby have been recorded by international visitors and posted on Facebooks and blogs across the world. Tommie is currently in the care of the wonderful and talented Ali Bee at the Maggie Koala Hospital. I will keep you updated although things aren’t looking promising as she has severe head injuries. Tommie’s baby boy, now named Jedi, luckily escaped injury and is also in Ali’s care.

Some attacks are dogs are within their yard boundaries and nothing can be done if wildlife wander into the yard. In other cases, we have too many people with dogs that are not restrained and are a danger to our wildlife. If you don’t care about wildlife remember this.      1. Koalas are in sharp decline and well protected by law. As responsible dog owners please do whatever you can to help protect them.

  1. Many visitors come to see koalas in the wild and that puts money in everyone’s pocket one way or another. Koalas are one of our big drawcards, we need to protect them.

3.FNF will be supporting and helping to fund the Koala Hospital and identify people who do not properly restrain their dogs. Please review your animals’ security and their access to our wonderful wildlife. There have been reports this week of 2 unrestrained dogs in Picnic Bay where 2 juvenile Koala’s live. Call Council’s Customer Service Centre on 1300 878 001.

  1. Remember, we have 1-1.5 percent of Australia’s remaining Koalas, that’s a big responsibility right there.

On average 110 koalas are attacked and killed by dogs each year.

*Take extra care with your dog when koalas are breeding Between July and November, adult koalas will be moving around in search of mates, with males trying to establish their dominance over an area. At this time independent young, born the previous year, will also be leaving their mothers’ home range in search of new areas. This is the time of year when koalas are at their most vulnerable to dog attack and dog owners should do whatever they can to keep koalas safe.

*Keep your dog restrained at night, limiting their boundaries within the yard can keep them clear of koalas as they move through the yard.

*Don’t assume your dog is koala friendly. Train them not to chase and attack smaller animals.

*Check the trees in your yard to see if koalas are present and if there are, keep your dog away from the area until the koalas come down and move on.

*If you are concerned about a koala in your yard being under threat, please call Ali at the Koala Hospital on 0428 785 488 or Jay on 0405 677 454. They will be able to come and collect the koala and relocate to a safer area.

Coral Reef Fish Closure

6 October 2018 to 10 October 2018 No Take on coral reef fish during this spawning time.

The Big Nasties

Picnic Bay Jetty has seen a large visitor, a 3m Tiger shark that is cruising through the bay late in the evenings. One Maggie angler has been very keen on catch and release of this major Apex predator, but after several nights has still to land the beast that he has seen cruising past the pylons. Tigers are number 2 in the bite humans stats after Great Whites but are generally after other prey. One of their favourite food sources is our turtles.

West Point occasionally gets a visitor from the mainland in search of a mate or food. Over the years I have been hear the frequency is about one big Croc every 2 years, not bad at all. Some anglers at West Point this week got a shock as a passing 3m croc dropped in to check what was on their lines. The local boys decided it was time to leave. Several sightings of the big reptile meant a mandatory call to parks. If you see it around the Island call Croc Watch on 1300 300 172

Chuck In Some Barra And Jacks

The Jacks have been firing at West Point, exciting the late-night anglers chasing Barra with the rewards of one of the better eating fish. 40-50 cm are great fighting fish, and many would say its better eating than Barra. Finding a big Barra with only 4 weeks to go until closure is the big goal, and many hours need to be invested, so grab a picnic dinner and head out to West Point or Cockle Bay. There are plenty of Trevally to keep you entertained between Jacks, and the odd Queenie.

…And The Offshore Fishing Reports

Cape Cleveland has finally started firing with 10-14kg Spaniards in large schools heading through the weed beds and off the rocky headland. Local anglers on Saturday bagged out in next to no time, although some had to replenish Halco lures destroyed by the big fish. In large schools Spaniards are extra aggressive and can destroy gear in frenzied attacks.

Lodestone is fishing better than I have seen it in a long time, the Coral Trout have been big and the reef itself looks in great condition. We were snorkelling there recently, and the fish life is abundant, great to see. For the Reds you need to go deeper, Arab and the slashers has been producing big Reds and Sea Bream, one of the better table fish. With the fin fish closure though chase Mack’s and Cobia off the Cape instead.

Keep an eye on Facebook for updated pics and locations that are firing.

 

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

Cheers Dale

FNF Outdoor Adventure & Hire Centre/MI Rentals

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

FOR ALL YOUR FISHING AND WATER SPORTS HIRE GEAR.

We sell the BIGGEST and BEST range of fishing rods & tackle, spear fishing equipment, snorkel gear, bait, boating and automotive needs, gift & party supplies, helium balloons, pool toys, bike accessories. We hire new Reef Boards for safe, easy snorkelling. We also have bike hire, car hire and electric bike hire, plus HUGE lolly wall and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24-hour Ice 7kg $5.

Fishin’ Maggie

What’s New

My son Mitchell has been up here for a week of fishing and adventure. We love doing nature walks both the island and off, as well as filming all sorts of adventures and ideas. For example, rubbing bananas on lures then trying to hook up. This time we did some mainland travelling and filming freshwater fishing and river ecology. One of the things I watched on You Tube once was a crab pot with camera and I thought it was awesome seeing the crabs getting in and out of the pot and trying to get to the bait. Janie came home and thought I was loony watching 45 minutes of crabs circling a pot. Mitch and I set a pot in the marina and got some crazy footage of the crab antics. It helps you understand the way the pots work as well. After watching I am a convert to round pots over rectangle, seeing crabs keep walking when they can’t get in is like watching your dinner guests leave without a farewell.

Morton Bay Bug in a scoop net? Done that. Fishing the other day, we were staggered to see a grey shape speeding across the surface of the ocean. We sped up to check it out and yep it was a moron bay bug with a place to go and fast. Mitch grabbed the little scoop net from the live bait tank and jumped overboard. The boys tried to grab the speedy crustacean, (also called a slipper lobster) but he changed directions and sped off straight into the waiting net of Mitch, who scooped the bug from the water. All would have been good, but the bug had better ideas and flipped back into the water and disappeared back into the deep. That was a new one on me, never seen a speeding bug on the top before.

Night Fishing Maggie

Night fishing on Maggie? Don’t mind it at all, we have a superb night fishery, and this is full moon week big night tides and all our favourite fish love that. With tourist season here, you are all asking what the best fish to target at night are, close in. There are plenty to choose from but the fish I will concentrate on are 4 of the best table fish in QLD an all available fight off our shores.

1.Mangrove Jack

One of the best fighting fish and always active at night is the voracious Mangrove Jack. The love the harbour walls, particularly around the head of the Marina and all the way around the rock walls. Jacks can be targeted with live bait and slab bait but will also take a prawn and a noisy vibe or Ballista night lure. There are also Jack pressure points right up close to the mangroves in Cockle Bay and Young Bay.

Mangrove Jacks are by far my favourite fighting fish pound for pound.  Not only do they fight like demons that will have you smoked in seconds, while you sit on the harbour wall dozing with live Hardy Heads. Get your livies under the bridge or off the marina beach area opposite the ferry terminal.

2. Fingermark

Surprised? Don’t be. Not as common as Jacks, Fingermark can be fished in the same spots as well as off the Picnic Bay Jetty at night. They love squid, chunk baits, slab baits and vibes, and love hanging around rocks in numbers. Recent catches have been in Nelly Bay and Westpoint.

3.Grunter

One of the locals all time favourite table fish Grunter or Javelin fish are superb eating fish. Loving the nights and the turn of the tide they are best targeted with peeled prawns and small whole Gar or Gar fillet. The love the sandy holes and are most often targeted at Westpoint where they give a good account of themselves.

4. Barramundi

Often overlooked on the island, they really are here in great numbers. Barra inhabit many of the rock caves around Maggie and come in at night to feed the shallow waters. There are several big Barra living under Picnic Bay Jetty and they grow large and smart in the Harbour. Easiest caught at Westpoint, Young Bay and Horseshoe Bay Barra love noisy lures, Ballista night Poppers as well as Gulp and Z Man soft plastics. One of the new lures for Barra arriving soon at FNF is the Live target Mullet. “Live Target’s”  Hollow Body series has quickly gained a big-time following. The mullet bait can be used in a walk-the-dog retrieve or burned across the surface for a splashy, bubbly trail that draws strikes.

The bait is virtually snag-proof, enabling use in our mangroves and other sticky cover. Available in three sizes and two colours,

 

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

Cheers Dale

FNF Outdoor Adventure & Hire Centre/MI Rentals

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

 

For all your fishing and water sports hire gear.

We sell the BIGGEST and BEST range of fishing rods & tackle, spear fishing equipment, snorkel gear, bait, boating and automotive needs, gift & party supplies, helium balloons, pool toys, bike accessories. We hire new Reef Boards for safe, easy snorkelling. We also have bike hire, car hire and electric bike hire, plus HUGE lolly wall and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24-hour Ice 7kg $5.

Fishin’ Maggie

Clark Kent Lives

I did my gruelling Coxswains orals on Friday and passed, which means I will get my Coxswains licence very soon. Elated, I called Janie and suggested a trip to Peppers for a beverage to celebrate. Bolting from work, I chucked a pair of shorts on and the closest shirt, a superman T-Shirt and we headed off for a relaxing bevy. Coming home 30 minutes later around the marina walkway, Janie and I saw a man with a young boy about 3 years old. The boy saw me, and his face teared up and he screamed ” SUPERMAN” and ran towards us. He grabbed Janie’s (Lois?) legs in the biggest cuddle and then straight to me. I lifted him up and as he started playing with my not super hair and telling me all the stories about me and Batman and Robin and was he so excited my heart just melted. I gently lowered my newest fan to the ground and as we said goodbye. As we walked away the excited conversation between he and his father/grandfather? was an absolute crack-up. We heard joyful exclamations of WOW! SUPERMAN! WOW! all around the marina, he was so excited. I don’t know who you were young man, but you made my year. I understand Santa jobs now; the buzz must be amazing.

Who threw the fish out?

Some good-natured complaints on the Jetty as an American angler released all his catch including a beautiful Coral Trout. From the feedback I got the man was doing ok until the Coral Trout was released, with other anglers crying out in despair. Apparently, the gentleman is a Marine research something or other and was just out for some fishing fun.                                          The Herring can raise some pretty big fish, but the Remoras have been hanging around the Jetty as well, slimy but ravenously hungry. One big Spaniard tested the line and caused 3 people to join forces to get it to the beach, the last volunteer diving into the water at the ramp to grab the trace and complete the catch. The fish weighed a respectable 8kg.

Mayday at a Wedding

What’s the worst time to get a marine Mayday call. The answer is in the middle of a marine based wedding. There was an amazing wedding at Radical Bay last week, a very well-orchestrated wedding involving transfers from Sealink, Aquascene and getting guests to the shore. Unfortunately, in the middle of this intricate manoeuvre, a Mayday call came through from a yacht in distress and Radical/Balding Bay. Some of the wedding party including Bride and Groom got to tag along as the rules of the sea dictate that the Mayday signal must be responded to immediately, lives at risk. Fortunately, the persons on the yacht were ok and the ceremony could be completed without too much delay.

Cockle Bay Blues

A big tinny went under at Cockle Bay as the rough weather caused the boat to fill with water and capsize. Also strange is the mystery surrounding the big Catamaran, parked there for so long and Radical Bay Camping

I have heard stories about some semi-permanent campers at Radical Bay. Radical has no toilets and the people dropping in complaining have told me that there needs to be something done. I will be looking into this next week and have some more news for you. There is always going to be a need for toilets at Westpoint and Radical Bay, two of the favourite bays for visitors and locals.

And the fishing reports

There is a Townsville spearo who has a spot off Liver Point in 15m of water, He reports hundreds of Fingermark inhabit this hole and he travels over regularly to bag out. I’m interested in this spot if anyone knows the location?

Off White Lady Bay is reports of smaller schools of these great fighting and eating fish, not far off the shark buoys.

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

Cheers Dale

 

FNF Outdoor Adventure & Hire Centre/MI Rentals

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

For all your fishing and water sports hire gear.

We sell the BIGGEST and BEST range of fishing rods & tackle, spear fishing equipment, snorkel gear, bait, boating and automotive needs, gift & party supplies, helium balloons, pool toys, bike accessories. We hire new Reef Boards for safe, easy snorkelling. We also have bike hire, car hire and electric bike hire, plus HUGE lolly wall and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24-hour Ice 7kg $5.

Fishin’ Maggie

The Felix.

Lots of rumours abound about the 229.66-foot-long (Yes, the .66 is important) 1622 tonne superyacht Felix that has been visiting the island, residing in Horseshoe, Geoffrey and recently Nelly Bay. The mere thought of hauling anchor and starting those 2 enormous 1850 HP Caterpillar motors to move a couple km each time seems unusual, but the truth is that the visitors are enjoying sampling our different bays. Last Friday the local cold stores truck was at the Townsville boat ramp as the crew loaded huge amounts of supplies onto 2 tenders to reprovision for the next leg of the trip. Although you can’t find much online about the owners, they have enjoyed exploring our island and visiting all our local shops. From the U.S.A. these 11 lovely people are spending 3 months exploring our coast with 17 crew including the Captain, an Aussie from Coffs Harbour N.S.W. It appears we are on everyone’s visit map these days, thanks for coming. Needless to say, they didn’t try to top off their 281,000 litre fuel tanks at FNF.

Stats. Built by Amadeus Yachts in 2007, refurbished 2014, she has 7 guest cabins and cost about 100 million dollars. Special features include

Golf driving range

Elevator through 3 decks

14-person cinema

Custom Steinway piano

Deck Jacuzzi.

Now that is really living, and upkeep costs? $15 Million P.A, even a lotto win won’t get you over that line, and yes they have fishing rods on board.

Been To Aims?

For all you long time island anglers that haven’t taken a trip to the amazing Institute of Marine Science at Cape Ferguson, you must do it. It’s an incredible place. I bet you didn’t know there is tours of the facility every Friday between March and November.

Tours begin at 9:30am and end at approximately 11:45am. They include presentations on AIMS’ current research and a guided walk around the facilities, including a tour of the ‘world’s smartest aquarium’, the National Sea Simulator.

Bookings are essential and close at 4 pm on the Wednesday before the tour. If you haven’t been grab a mate (not to hard) and go check it out.

Cooking Cuda, Why Would You?

Now I have been contradicted several times when I call Barracudas crap eating, and again this week 2 anglers came in and told me they caught and ate the Barracudas they caught. Now you can eat them, have fun with it, I find the meat bland and dry, better off eating the bait. However, a word of warning, the bigger ones can be Ciguatera carriers. In addition, they can have high mercury content. KK caught one last week that weighed in at 14kg which is slightly smaller than his previous one that topped 17kg, now that is a monster fish. No, he doesn’t eat them, that size is a huge risk.

For the lovers of Mud crab, I hear Bikini Tree is doing Whole Mud crab as well as whole Rotisserie Fish on Thursdays, check them out.

We all know how fast our local crafty Kookaburras are at stealing food right off the BBQ and out of your hand, but a Horseshoe Bay couple found out the hard way that they attack other things as well. This super tough Kookaburra swooped on their fishing lure, grabbed it and proceeded to destroy it by bashing to death until the hooks flew out before flying off. One can only assume the Kookaburra dropped the prize lure after failing to soften the body enough to swallow.

And The Fishing Reports

There have been big Mangrove Jacks 40-48cm being caught in the western side creeks including the shallow waters of Retreat and Ned Lees Creeks. The small prawns are back and that’s just the ticket to entice them to strike. with lures concentrate your efforts around the pressure points, and heavy structure, on the tide drop. If the water is too high the Mangrove Jacks won’t be sitting out far enough to entice a strike. Those Zerek prawns are gold, and have been working a treat, but the midges are brutal, one mate of mine was red raw all down the legs by the time he leapt into some soothing fresh water and frantically grabbed for a bucket of Calamine Lotion. Tip wear long pants or stinger suit.

With the local boating anglers out on the weekend there have been reports of increased levels of quality Spanish Mackerel getting around closer inshore and even inside Horseshoe Bay, as well as the wreck area a couple of KM off Orchard Rocks. (Have a sound around 19.05.208 146.51.368) Other boats chasing any Mackerel at the shipping channel pylons, especially S5 have also been doing well catching some nice Spanny’s around 7-10kg, as well as plenty of the school mackerel. Over on the weed beds at the Cape where the bait is concentrated, success can be achieved either trolling small hard bodies like my Qantas Lure and the Mullet or setting anchor and starting a burley trail with a pilchard floating out on a set of smaller 2/0 gang hooks on leader. There have also been some Fingermark in Horseshoe Bay.

The boats headed offshore have done well lately, at Bomber, and around the reefs. On the Bomber there have been some good quality Cobia up to 15kg, some nice Spanish mackerel, while up in the shallower water the trouts haven’t been around in huge numbers, but there has been plenty of red throat emperors filling up the eskies, at least on rods.

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

Cheers Dale

FNF Outdoor Adventure & Hire Centre/MI Rentals

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

FOR ALL YOUR FISHING AND WATER SPORTS HIRE GEAR.

We sell the BIGGEST and BEST range of fishing rods & tackle, spear fishing equipment, snorkel gear, bait, boating and automotive needs, gift & party supplies, helium balloons, pool toys, bike accessories. We hire new Reef Boards for safe, easy snorkelling. We also have bike hire, car hire and electric bike hire, plus HUGE lolly wall and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24-hour Ice 7kg $5.

Fishin’ Maggie

Holidays Rock.

Where do you run away to for a holiday if you live on a tropical island? Visitors ask that question regularly, when you say you are back from a holiday break. The answer is sometimes “another island”, or in our case 74 of them, the Whitsunday Islands. We had a wonderful 10 days (mid-season pay for 7) floating around the islands of the Whitsundays, in a 36 foot Fairway cruiser from Queensland Yacht Charters, a dream holiday for us because Janie gets to read, relax and cook the most awesome meals in the galley, (food tastes so much better when at sea, it really does) while I fish and explore in the tender. Then we would weigh anchor, cruise the islands and avoid the masses of curious whales in the comfort of our boat. All that and no licence required. That’s called bareboating the Whitsundays, but its big business and a great idea. If you haven’t been to Hamilton Island then you should go, although there are drawbacks. GRMPA have done some awesome work installing moorings in popular anchorages to stop the reef being smashed by anchors so much and adding that extra security that you get by not sitting next to shallow reef at anchor after dark. (that stuff gets in your head and destroys your sleep.)

The Whitsundays waters are so much clearer than ours, more like the eastern side of the Palm group. This can be challenging when fishing the shallow waters, because you need to keep your gear light and the lure moving faster than in our murkier waters. I used the opportunity to test out some new lure colours and types, and one blew away the competition and beat all other contenders’ hands down and believe me I took a big bag of lures. I’m looking forward to trying it around the island over the next week or two and will let you know if it works as well here. To answer the other question I was asked, yes; that should make the trip partially tax deductable, or does it? All in all, the Whitsundays was top action great fun and I ended up getting 29 different species all on soft plastics, plus many other fun standout moments like seeing Pentecost Island, the only island in the group impressive enough to be named by Captain Cook personally, (it’s a candidate for the next King Kong movie.)

Patience; All Things Will Come…

One crazy session happened when we were anchored in the amazingly calm Macona Inlet at the bottom of Hook Island. A school of herring decided to take residence around the boat, and I had just got back in the tender. I went up to the fly bridge and grabbed the bait jig rod, and promptly hooked one unlucky Herring by the belly. I bolted down to main deck, (yes fishing is hard work) and threw it on the nearest fishing rod and chucked it over the side. Within 2 seconds a hungry Queenie smashed the herring and took off full noise. Unfortunately, the top 2 guides on the fishing rod busted and I had to handline the beast to the boat with Janie filming the show. Feeling a great filming session coming I changed rigs, ran back up to the flybridge (did I mention fishing is hard work?) and dropped the jig again. Nothing… Nought… Nada! These little silver guys were smarter than me. They graciously moved out of the way to let the jig go past. Okay, new strategy, I grabbed my trusty cast nest and slung that thing till my arm ached. Those little fish with pinhead brains avoided all my casts in the crystal-clear water, but to taunt me they then followed the net up each time with great interest. After half an hour I was getting very frustrated. Then, my ears picked up this rustling noise and suddenly the water came alive. A monster Queenie in search of afternoon tea tore through those fish, and this one suicidal fish decided to jump out of the water and land smack into the boat. I looked over at Janie and we just laughed, it was one of those silly moments in life. I grabbed that sacrificial herring and chucked him on the line quick smart dropped him down and off we went again. What great fun that mini session was. I love the unpredictability of NQ fishing.

Picnic Bay – And The Trouble With Herring

We all waited years, 5 years and more, for the herring to return to the jetty, and now they seem very settled, and in numbers bigger than most can remember. Thousands of farting herring are there for the taking, and the predators are close by. However, the big predators are smart, and getting very wary of heavy gear. Hoppy put it to me this way. “I fished with herring for ages, nothing wanted the bait, then pulled my rod out to leave and tossed the herring into the water to freedom, he had earned it. Several Queenies, realising there was no line attached to the little guy smashed that injured herring in front of my eyes. He was gulped down in seconds.”  The art of fishing Picnic Bay now is to fish with lighter line, as the Mackerel, Queenfish, Grunter and Trevally are getting very sensitive to heavy fishing line, and wire trace. Another local hooked up something huge and colourful, with great strength and the battle was on as it tried to take him around towards Cockle Bay and then under the jetty before he finally manoeuvred it back closer to the jetty and saw what he had on the line. Devastated, he looked down on a Chinaman fish, a protected ciguatera carrier and not the prize catch he thought he had. Bummer mate, better luck next time. He was devastated and understandably. Tip – get pike, pike love anything moving incredibly fast and waving a tentacle or two so use soft plastics not jigs and red or red/white are best. Just remember that pike works as well filleted and floating in the water, as it does live. Those wonderful colour shades sparkle through the water and attract fish easily.

What’s With The Sharks?

Ray just got back from the Slasher group for a three-day trip on a Grand Banks 48′ (tough life) and reported the same problems lots of deep anglers have had lately, that is the number of big sharks out there smashing all the fish when you try to get them to the surface. The fastest way to get them away from the sharks is either hand lining or electric reels. Electric reels can retrieve 150 feet in one minute, meaning the fish are still wondering what the hell just happened when they hit the surface. Some would say that’s not fishing, but if you want Trout for dinner and there’s a school of large sharks, it’s probably your only chance.

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

Cheers Dale

FNF Outdoor Adventure & Hire Centre/MI Rentals

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

FOR ALL YOUR FISHING AND WATER SPORTS HIRE GEAR.

We sell the BIGGEST and BEST range of fishing rods & tackle, spear fishing equipment, snorkel gear, bait, boating and automotive needs, gift & party supplies, helium balloons, pool toys, bike accessories. We hire new Reef Boards for safe, easy snorkelling. We also have bike hire, car hire and electric bike hire, plus HUGE lolly wall and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24-hour Ice 7kg $5.