Fishin’ Maggie

What’s New On The Rock

Death adders are a part of Maggie life. Try not to walk around the backyard barefoot, pee behind the shed at night, or poke them with a stick and these recluse creatures will leave you alone. If they choose to strike they have one of the fastest snake strike speeds on earth. (0.15 seconds from strike ready to envenomate and back to strike ready.) Last week I heard an incredible tale from Rob, who watched an epic battle between a Pheasant Coucal and a Death adder in his yard at Horseshoe Bay. Our reclusive Maggie Pheasant Coucals come across as clumsy and totally unco, and it’s not uncommon to see them run into a tree or stagger clumsily across the roads. This one however managed to take on an adult death adder and win. The epic battle was photographed as the coucal pecked and moved back faster than the strike until the Adder was dead. Nature at its most violent.

Holidays equals good sales? Absolutely. Sometimes you can suddenly double your sales. A visiting angler bought a Fishhunter combo from FNF and decided to have a fish down Gustav creek. Relaxed in holiday mode and chatting away he was dismayed to see the rod heading up the creek towed by a large fin. When he came instore and bought another identical rig and told Jo on counter he was pretty cool with it all, the unplanned expense likely coming out of his beer allowance.

My thumbs up this week to our local Council boys. I did a recent off island road trip and the roadkill and rubbish I observed was pretty sad, plus BBQs poorly cleaned and maintained. Then you come back here and see the difference. Our boys get out there 7 days a week, remove roadkill before it causes danger, keep the BBQ’s spotless and are always looking for issues to fix, and have an eye for detail. The lack of roadside rubbish is a credit to all. Great job.

Bad luck Anaru, dropping a big Barra in Nelly Bay on live mullet. Barra are lazy at this time of year in the relatively cold water. Barra are still holding in several locations, but they are very hard to entice to strike. Live Mullet and very noisy slow retrieved lures in Horseshoe Bay and the Harbour, as well as at Westpoint are the best options.

The first Spaniard of the beach was quite respectable at 8.5 kg off the northern rocks at Westpoint. Dave had just watched a small boil up in the drop off and swapped his squid vicious for a spoon. It was all he had that was shiny, but it worked as on second cast the Spaniard smashed it and headed toward Pallarenda. That’s a top catch off the beach at any time.

Holiday Fishing Focus Horseshoe Bay

With winds expected to continue this week, one of our most magnificent and weather protected fishing bays is Horseshoe Bay. For anglers this bay attracts some serious attention. Species caught in the last 2 weeks in Horseshoe Bay are impressive. They include. GT’s, Golden Trevally, Queenfish, Tarpon, Wolf Herring, School Mac’s Dart, Flathead, Blue Bone, Blue Salmon, Yellow Stripey, Barra (1), Cod, and a few others.

Southern End – Warm Shallows

This end past the Michelle and Adrian’s awesome gelato shop (stop for a Mango Gelato first,) is shallow sandy and well protected, with sun warmed waters. It is a Flathead and Whiting haven. Small gar, baitfish and prawns congregate in the shallows, and predators come in to feed and sunbake. At the creek in the very shallow water big bar-tailed Flathead will take a Gulp soft plastic twitched slowly through the outgoing current. Using smaller lures produces the best results, and sun up, high tides and sunset are the best. Small poppers Sunset luring gives the most spectacular photo opportunities as the rainbow colours are spectacular from this end. As this area is serviced by restaurants, bottle shop and surf lifesaving it is a favourite. Fly anglers love this section and can wade out deep in search of Trevally.

Boat Ramp – Morning / Evening

When the bait is holding the boat ramp area of Horseshoe Bay is gold for morning and evening fishing for many big fish species. Water sports and Jet Ski’s operate in the area during the day, so keep clear of the ramp during operational times and boats launching. This area can get you the prized fish you came to find, big Queenies, Barra, GT’S, Golden Trevalley and of course the hard fighting Tarpon. For the bait angler’s prawns will get you Grunter, (Barred/ Silver Javelin) Dart, Trevally and other passing species. Strip baits can get you some big predators but watch out for Rays, sharks and the common shovelnose shark that will give your gear a big workout.  Fast retrieve lures, slow luring, soft plastics, and part peeled prawns are a must. Also close to restaurants, cafés and beverages, this area has chairs and BBQ areas with plenty of shade. Cook your catch on the spot.

Northern Horseshoe Bay – Deeper Water

Accessible by vehicle from Pollard Street off Apjohn St, park at the end, then a short hike over a sand dune, is the northern end of Horseshoe Bay. With rocks to your left and sandy beach with steep drop-offs, this is a top area to lure for all sorts of Pelagic species or climb the rocks for Coral Trout Nannygai and Cod. Quiet and secluded, this is a great evening picnic spot. Plant the rods in the sand and play some ball sports with the kids while waiting for a hungry Queenfish or Salmon to peel the line off your rod. Best baits are strip bait, whole poddy mullet, big squid and prawn. The best lures are long distance casting slugs, bigger poppers, RMG 2+ and any of your favourite blue water lures.

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

Cheers Dale

FNF Oudoor Sports and Tackle

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

For all your fishing and sports hire gear. We hire and sell fishing rods, plus snorkel equipment, bait, tackle, ice, spear fishing equipment, sports, party, pool toys, bike hire and new Reefboards for safe easy snorkelling. We also have car hire, E- bike hire and Segway tours, plus kid’s lolly wall and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24-hour Ice 7kg $5.

Fishin’ Maggie

What’s New On the Rock

Prawns and Jelly Prawns. One local was telling me he was at Radical Bay and was amazed to see prawns under the sand above the water line at Radical Bay, hundreds of them. For those that don’t know prawns often bury themselves in the sand during the day. Having so many under the sand above the tideline though, that is unusual.

Has anyone heard of Gympie Gympie, suicide plant, (Species name: Dendrocnide moroides) of the family Urticaceae. It is one of the most venomous plants in the world, and although all don’t agree, apparently it is on the island. Symptoms can last 2 years plus of stingers break off inside your skin.

“Like being burned by hot acid and electrocuted at the same time.” That’s botanist Marina Hurley” on what it feels like to touch the Gympie Gympie. It doesn’t even need to be touched to get a sting, an extremely fine fuzz of poisonous needles coats the entire plant, and the things shed like a cat in summertime. So, it’s disturbingly easy to get stung just by standing near them. There are many horror stories about the unbelievable pain that makes you vomit instantly, plus animals and people going mad from pain.

This week VV told me of her and a friend’s experience with the sting of this noxious weed right here on the Island on a ridge behind Nelly Bay, and that the pain is out of this world. I walk in shorts off trail occasionally (might cover up now though) so take care walking in bushy areas away from main tracks.

5.30 Sunday morning, I sneak down to the Horseshoe Bay boat ramp after setting up the shop ready to open at 7PM. The wife thinks I have gone early to write my article, but I’m still in the research phase, that is tax deductable fishing. The masthead lights on the yachts mingle with the last stars as the dark night starts losing to the light approaching the horizon. Its low tide, and the water is muddy. I have been down a couple of times in the mornings but much later as the sun comes up and the boys start the morning ritual of trying to hook up those big Golden Trevally as they school up the Jelly Prawns in the shallows. The sight of their fat bodies and black fins above water is a sight to see, as is the thousands of startled Jelly prawns glistening as they launch out of the water, probably hoping in their little prawn heads that they can fly rather than land back in the middle of the feeding frenzy below. My target this morning is different. If you can’t get the fish to take a tiny lure, think outside the square and go big, change targets. This morning, I’m aiming for a big Queenie, my network tells me they were there on Saturday morning. The lure, something different, a Ballista night cast lure, a magic popper with a flashing bum, designed for anglers or fish, that I’m not yet sure.

I start casting into the calm waters, the sound of the popper loud on the water, aware I have 35 minutes before work beckons again. Cast after cast and the surface remains quiet despite the popper looking so alluring, repeated tugs making it appear to be wounded and struggling across the ocean surface. Time running out and cast almost wound in I stop and turn around as the noise of Pete on the Garbage truck rumbles past. The lure sits limp in the shallow muddy waster until with the most amazing show a massive Barra, probably resting next to me the whole time launches itself out of the water and takes the popper. Light gear was a mistake as the big girl peels the line off the rig and heads to deeper waters. I tighten the drag as much as I dare and finally get her head turned and get her back to the beach. This is my biggest at Horseshoe Bay, plus 94cm, beating the last one by at least 10cm. What a morning. By the time I get to the ferry terminal to order coffee from the sweet and wonderful girls at Presto my day is already as good as it gets. I love Maggie. Well that my buzz this week, best get on to other news.

Graduations to Toby on his 51 cm Coral Trout. That size trout is about the perfect eating size, and a top catch around the Island. The Trout are still plentiful around Maggie so Don’t give up.

We welcome a new Fly angler to the Island, I might have to start ranging more fly gear to cater for the increasing popularity on the Island.

Gus’s 5.5 kg Coral trout on Sort plastic is an amazing achievement. Fish stories are coming in thick and fast as the cold water gets the fish in closer. Sandor’s picture with his 18KG Spaniard, caught off Salamander, on an otherwise tough day will be in next week. That’s a top fish Sandor, and more of these big fish will be caught over the next few week as finally the big winter Spaniards are busting lures causing mayhem and filling freezers. Hard hitting and line stretching, they are the fish that everyone loves to catch. Many of the locals are heading out looking for the big ones. Mike is running Miss Nelly and landing some cracking fish in the inshore areas. Martin just sent me a pic of his whopper 20 something kg beast off Horseshoe Bay on a brand-new rig bought at FNF, only 2 days prior. At Maggie Shoals 12-14 kg perfect food size are smashing lures on the turn of the tide. S.L lost his $60 Rapala Red white deep diver to a ravenous mack, and I lost a Halco Pilchard DD before landing some top fighting fish.

The funniest moment on the morning trip was when SL’s line bent over, and he started hauling his 2nd fish in, fighting hard, proud as punch. When it got to the side of the boat it was not hooked on his lure but had swallowed my Gar rig then crossed over. Having done the hard work, and it was the decider for day, as we had both caught equal, we split catch and ended evens.

The run of 4-6 Kg Spaniards visiting the jetty continues, especially just after dark, and although they are smaller ones, they are fun, hard hitting, enthusiastic and Ciguatera safe. It’s also nice to see Dads putting life jackets on the youngsters while they fish the jetty, that’s safety conscious.

PT is selling his tinny with very good condition motor, $2300 ONO if anyone feels they are missing out on the fishing action.

This week’s fish pic is a stonker of a flathead, fat from eating jelly prawns, caught by Karl at Horseshoe Bay.

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

Cheers Dale

Fish’n N Fuel’n Sports and Tackle

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

For all your fishing and sports hire gear. We hire and sell fishing rods, plus snorkel equipment, bait, tackle, ice, spear fishing equipment, sports, party, pool toys, bike hire and new Reefboards for safe easy snorkelling. We also have car hire, E- bike hire and Segway tours, plus kids lolly wall and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24 hour Ice 7kg $5.

Fishin’ Maggie

What’s Happening On Maggie

I just had a weekend in Sydney visiting the family. Has anyone been in Sydney airport toilets lately? My God the signage makes you want to off yourself. In front of the urinals is the “dry eye test- stare at this for … seconds, ” and then there is the sink signs that proclaim, “Prostate Cancer kills more people than Breast Cancer”. Then not far from that on the wall is the “free pocket guide to heart attacks- save you or a family members life”, and on the dryer walls is the new one about “workplace depression”. Before my pee I was on top of the world, but afterward I was mentally building a list of things to talk to the Dr about. Soon I bet there will be an organisation dedicated to avoiding toilet depression.

Council sand works has now been completed at Horseshoe Bay, hopefully the efforts should sure up the remaining Beach Almond trees (Terminalia spp.) for a while longer. Over the two weeks of the project, the team moved 5000 tons of pristine sand from the southern end of the bay back to the main activity area. That’s a big effort, although 1000 plus tonnes have been eaten by the ocean already.

I was chatting to my friend at his car hire place, and we were laughing about those “special” questions visitors ask. His favourite for the week was when a customer asked him if the topless “barbie” cars had central locking. My mate said, if you can find doors you can have central locking. (BTW have you watched people hop in and out of those Barbie cars? There is no elegant way to exit those micros. Janie and I had a better visitors question, but you will have to wait until next week.

Well they say fishing and drinking go together, so here’s one for the boys on overnight reef trips and Westpoint fishing nights. Trials will begin next year on humans on the hangover pills. The pills have three enzymes that stop people getting drunk by neutralising the alcohol in their drinks in the body. It sounds like a big costly exercise, if after paying for full strength beer you then take a pill to neutralise it.

It’s just over a month to the banning of single use shopping bags, Maggie being in an ecologically sensitive area will benefit, though the fruit and vegetable bags are still fine, which seems a bit strange. FNF will cease one use bags shortly and offer a range of other options for you. Bait bags are still an issue and we rely on you anglers taking your rubbish with you.

And The Fishing Stuff

Fish of the week goes to Geoff with a great Mackerel of Picnic Bay Jetty. With thousands of herring still at the Jetty the mackerel are picky, as Nick has found out. It there anything more frustrating than watching macs play with your herring, grabbing then spitting the bait?

Shelley was out fished by her mother who hadn’t dropped a line for 15 years. They were fishing the end of the jetty, but Shelley’s biggest efforts only resulted in a lonely smelly remora. Mum on the other hand smashed out a sweet Trevally and a smashing Mackerel in short order to show she hasn’t lost her touch. Good on ya mum.

Young Jack hooked up big time, when his rod doubled over, and the massive fish went underneath the pylons. His dad Neil sprinted to his side to offer assistance, but by time he got there it was all over. A dejected Jack described the fish as big, and black and silver. I am not sure what that would’ve been, but he wants it back.

Just remember when you are heading all the way to the end of the Jetty to bait up that the shore end can often be more productive. We, several times last week were hooked up on fish near the boat ramp on the high tide while people strode past heading to the far end. High tide in the boat ramp area was productive with those big hungry queenies and hard-hitting trevally following bait into as little as 30cm of water.

With the Jelly Prawns back in Horseshoe Bay the most amazing bust ups are happening as all manner of fish follow the herring, sardines, mullet, nervous gar and other bait species that are stalking the tiny prawns.

People were blown away Thursday as 2 playful adult dolphins came up to the beach and chased baitfish all the way along the shoreline to the north. What a sight that would have been, send me some video guys.

Sunday morning, I was at Horseshoe Bay and hooked up a respectable golden trevally. It was peeling line off at a fast rate and I grabbed my iPhone, (filming is my fun place) and tried to record the fight. The video function was running when I asked my mate Jimmy to grab it and keep filming for me. When I got the hard fighting fish up onto the beach Jimmy passed the iPhone back and I said, ” Oh Jimmy you held it backwards.” My first 30 seconds is great, then it’s sand dunes, Jimmy’s face, trees and random people walking past on the beach, funny as.

Matt B has the photo of the week with a top Barra off the boat ramp, one of 3 hooked barra to 80cm chasing the mullet that are smashing the jelly prawns.

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

Cheers Dale

FNF Outdoor Adventure Sports and Tackle

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

For all your fishing and sports hire gear. We hire and sell fishing rods, plus snorkel equipment, bait, tackle, ice, spear fishing equipment, sports, party, pool toys, bike hire and new Reefboards for safe easy snorkelling. We also have car hire, E- bike hire and Segway tours, plus lolly wall and many convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24 hour Ice 7kg $5.

Fishin’ Maggie

What’s Happening On Maggie

The temporary toilets that stayed for 6 years have finally been removed from the southern roundabout at Horseshoe Bay. Apparently, as the new toilets are up and running, they are no longer needed. Incidentally have you ever asked yourself why they always install rows of expensive soap dispensers that never get filled. How many people press them every day just to find out that it is a design requirement but not an operational provision? Just one of those silly things. Also strange is the disappearance of one of the new toilet doors already. Was someone using a raft to get to their boat or someone’s new front door

Last week saw the return of the winter fishing that we just adore, big fish, lots of bait and great action, more on that shortly.

I finished my Coxswains course, and what a great 2 weeks, thanks so much to Nick from Prodive. Also, on the course was some AIMS members and Andrew from GRMPA. I love picking the brains of anyone in the fish game. Here’s a couple of Gems I learnt last week.

We have a Rock Cod up here in our waters that has a legal limit of 38cm. However, they only grow to 35cm, so they never get legally taken. How weird is that? Incredibly, at the tiny size of 35cm they can be 40 years old, can you believe that. I also found out that thanks to shark tagging they can track our local Bull sharks travelling all the way down to Jervis Bay and back, past Sydney, following their preferred diet choices.

My fish of the week undoubtedly must be the 52cm Mangrove Jack in the harbour Saturday Night. I choose it over many others because it is one of the hardest fighting fish, great eating and a rarer catch even than Barra. Congrats to Annie’s son Andy who got the job done, fish filleted, and perfectly cooked for Sunday Mother’s Day dinner.  Happy Mother’s Day Annie

Fishing Maggie

Why has the fishing suddenly gone on the boil, especially at night? On Wednesday billions of banana prawns moved in close to shore. Following them was tonnes and I mean that literally, tonnes of Gar. Sitting on the Gar is all the usual suspects, Big Barra, Queenies, Trevally and Fingermark. (Golden Snapper)

Friday night Scott was having a peaceful time sitting at Westpoint, pondering how to make fishing last more hours than his job each week, and waiting for something to happen. The calm night was replaced with that tingle you get when something is changing.  The seas came alive with baitfish, prawns and the Barra went crazy. With 3 big Barra dropped including what Scott described as the magic Meter Barra, he had the first stonker landed on the beach and photographed. Saturday night saw the Prawn School with its accompanying bedlam stretched from Picnic Jetty all the way down to the pipeline. The boys reported Barra sitting along the Picnic stinger nets as well.

There’s more, Queenies are stalking the bait, and are big, 800-1m in size. These Herring we love to see are back at the jetty in their thousands and that means Mackerel; Queenies and Trevally.

Even more amazing are the hundreds of Squid in Horseshoe Bay, I can’t get excited enough about squid, they are fun, yum and make great videos. However don’t use a poly I remember going out with a mate in his new yellow Poly. I pulled in a big squid and missed getting it in the catch bucket. Well the bugger squirted ink everywhere, the boat looked like a work of art from Jackson Pollock the famous splatter artist.  ( Lots of cleaning and apologies I can tell you. ) Anyway, back to Horseshoe Bay fishing, GO get your squid lights and 2.5 weight squid jigs and go get yourselves a feed. Schools that big don’t hang around forever, they dissipate as they follow the decimated bait schools to other locations.  In the meantime, the squid and prawns have brought the doggy Mack’s into the bay in force. Geoff and many others on the afternoon Horseshoe Bay run have been picking up these sweet table fish.

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

Cheers Dale

Fish’n N Fuel’n Sports and Tackle

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

For all of your fishing and sports hire gear. We hire and sell fishing rods, plus snorkel equipment, bait, tackle, ice, spear fishing equipment, sports, party, pool toys, bike hire and new Reefboards for safe easy snorkelling. We also have car hire, E- bike hire and Segway tours, plus HUGE lolly wall and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24 hour Ice 7kg $5.

Fishin’ Maggie

What’s Happening On Maggie

New shops are about to be built on the land near the roundabout at Nelly Bay, (3 ½ shops.) The new shopping precinct will commence shortly and follows a recent building boom on the island. The chippies are all busy on new houses, and reno’s, that’s great to see. What shops do we need here now? If you want a lease, contact Ross at First National. Its getting quite busy down the ferry terminal way, with more businesses getting closer.

I read a report this week showing that every single sample taken from our local reefs from Townsville to Cairns by JCU investigators shows microfibers from our synthetic clothing. The washing water from doing our laundry goes to sewerage plants, then to the ocean, and the tiny fibres are settling on the ocean floors and reefs. The impacts on the reef are still being investigated, but its food for thought in these days of cheap throwaway clothing.

Our Teenage Koala Tommy is still a real hit with visitors, and currently moves between only 2 trees, a Box Gum and a Ghost Gum, making him easy to find daily for our visitors.

Did you know Chlamydia is one of the biggest problems affecting the Australian koala population?  Baby koala’s often get it by eating Pap, that’s the high nutrient poo that babies eat after breast milk from mum, (Gag) I note that there is an application for extension of the Koala Hospital on the Island, as well as an Eco resort at Horseshoe Bay. What a great initiative, the care of one of our main tourist attractions should always be a priority.

Happy 50th Birthday to Adam Hinks. Adam received a sexy white Spark Drone for his birthday present from his loving family, so look out for some amazing aerial pics on his Facebook when he gets it set up. Its my birthday in 2 weeks if anyone wants to buy me a drone??

Happy 60th to Benny Kalsgaard who would have loved a fish but was laid up with a bad knee injury, that sucks Benny. Hope you had a great day anyway with family.

Fishing Maggie

Many of the the commercial and charter boats finally got the hulls  wet on Saturday as a tiny window in the constant winds allowed trips to the reefs and Yongala Wreck. Whilst travel conditions were average, for those on angling trips, the fishing was top notch. NQ Charters did a day trip, very successfully, Pro- Dive got out to the reef and Adrtenalin made it to Yongala. Local Troy Lane finally found a weather window to test out his new Cat, the twin 135hp Mercury’s pushing the big beast smoothly through the chop. The boys had a ball pulling plenty of quality Trout from Brewer Reef.

It’s a rare thing to see a school of Finger-mark at the Jetty but last week as Peb’s was chasing squid after dark, a big school moved in under the pylons, chasing Hardyhead schools.  Peb’s bolted home to grab a bait rod and dropped a chunk of squid down on a big hook. The closest fish grabbed the bait and took off at full noise. Peb’s wrestled it to shore and it was a respectable 62cm Golden Snapper. Well done Pebbles.

Catching Grunter is one of the more successful ventures of Maggie currently of year. Whilst prawns are popular, gar fillet floated are going to land you the big ones. Roo showed me 5 big fish he caught last session, all fat and decent sizes.

Drue landed some quality Reds off Horseshoe Bay last week dropping baits into the mid water current near Orchard Rocks., they were great size for inshore. As Red season fires up we should see more of these quality fish taking baits, see below for my tips.  Reds are not targeted so often around the Island but are common over the next 6 months. Read on.

Catching Reds

April signals the start of the Red Emperor and small and large mouth Nannygai season, or at least the best time to catch these top table fish. The shoals, Palms and even our Island rocks produce plenty of good fish, just find your spot. I have a couple of marks off Arthur Bay and around Liver Point that hold Reds and Finger-mark, but there are many spots. Best rigs are Running, droppers and paternoster rigs. When you’re using a dropper rig you can set the distance above the sea floor. Small fish will rarely travel up too far to eat for fear of being eaten and keeping the sinker on the bottom means big fish won’t feel the weight until they have the bait in their mouth, hopefully during a strike.

Running rigs are tops when fishing live-baits as they tend to spin when they’re dropped. Dropper rigs often get tangled but running rigs can spin without tangling around the bait and will keep the hook exposed. 30-50lb line is plenty.

I use mainly 6/0-9/0 Octopus, wide gap and circle often and have found these sizes cover the targeted fish and the extra bonus fish, Robinson Sea Bream, Cobia, Trout, Cod and Trevally.

Hard Baits work well, but don’t cover the Barb of the hook with tough fish skin, I’ve seen plenty of fish dropped that way. Mack Tuna, Trevally or other fresh fish should be cut into chunks and small strips. Here’s a tip from a mate . If you are insisting on leaving the silver skin on the bait, take a little area of skin from around the hook so the hook sets properly.

Any live baits of yellowtail, yakka, herring and even mullet should attract interest from the reds. Most shipping pylons have some livie’s. Try hooking your live baits through the mouth or bridle rigging them just near the eyes or nostril holes. This will enable your live baitto  swim with a natural action  and will allow you to drift over your spot with a running rig.

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

Cheers Dale

Fish’n N Fuel’n Sports and Tackle

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

For all of your fishing and sports hire gear. We hire and sell fishing rods, plus snorkel equipment, bait, tackle, ice, spear fishing equipment, sports, party, pool toys, bike hire and new Reefboards for safe easy snorkelling. We also have car hire, E- bike hire and Segway tours, plus HUGE lolly wall and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24 hour Ice 7kg $5.

Fishin’ Maggie

What’s New On The Rock

Geoff was itching to tell me his Barra story this week. The boys were sitting on the back of Geoff’s Boat having a cold beverage down in D arm. (That area can be a little fishing Gem, Mullet Gar and Herring hang around the boats and pylons and attract big predators.) As they often do they were feeding some fish, when a 90cm Barra slowly swam up near the side to see what was happening, rolling over for a good look around. The guys had used the last of the fish food and Geoff was looking for something to put on a fishing line to get this big beast of a fish. The only thing around was the left-over potato bake from dinner, still on the deck. Geoff grabbed his baitcaster rig, baited up quickly with cheesy potato bake, (yep no lie) , and floated it out the back. Well the ravenous Barra swallowed the potato, with cheese and hook. So, Geoff is trying to slow this Barra down as it peeled braid off his small baitcaster and headed for the rocks on the opposite bank. Less than a minute and 2 head shakes later, and the Wily Barra was gone, leaving some adrenalin loaded boaties shaking their heads in disbelief.

The local rain gauges have reported a grand total of 788mm of rain in Nelly Bay for the whole wet season, (We have had much better years) The long-term forecasts show little rain for the rest of March. The lagoon at Horseshoe Bay is still swimmable but I suggest any who haven’t done the swim the creeks and falls experience, do it very soon as the flows are ebbing fast.

Fishing Maggie

The Barra are still in big numbers around the island and are unpredictable in terms of when they bite. I headed out to Westpoint to deliver gas bottles to B.M, and of course one of my fishing rods “accidentally” fell into the ute. (Its WestPoint.) The day was rough, 20 knots and the water was mud, (crap conditions to try to flick lures.) I had my trusty Zerek lure on, they just nail Barra in murky waters, they pick up the vibration on their lateral lines, then see the black gold flash as the lure rolls like a wounded bait fish. Low tide, full Sun and the Zerek Barra-Pro gets nailed by a feisty 74cm Barra. Dinner on the table, Gas Delivered, and that’s why we live on Maggie.

The Pirtek Challenge was held last Sunday, and Maggie sported 4 entrants, and we all had high hopes. (Mind you all fishing trips start with enthusiasm or you wouldn’t go. Nobody gets up thinking, I won’t catch a fish today, we all believe the esky will be full)

This was a land-based trip, west side, (that’s where the Barra are.) Target species for QLD were Barra Whiting and Flathead. NQ has Buckley’s chance of winning the latter 2 species as they grow bigger down south. So, our big and only hope for the prizes were to land good Barra. 4.30 am Sunday the preparations began, before 2 cars full of fishing gear, 4 hopeful entrants and one casual angler headed off. The day started fine, with Matt smashing a 74cm Barra on the 3rd cast for our first entry, (Only allowed one entry each) Barra 2 was full on comedy as a live mullet line furthest from us anglers went off, rod straining and the big Barra leaping and twisting. Everyone was frozen for a moment, then we were all running to get to the Rod. The Big Barra decided enough was enough and cut through the leader and left us without entry number 2. We got a Flathead, pretty good size for pic 2 and pulled up stumps to head to Young Bay for the outgoing tide.

Barra were aplenty, but not hungry as we pulled another 2 and dropped at least 8 in a crazy midday session.  They played with the lures, and our feelings as we desperately tried to find a meter Barra for the last upload entry Pic, but to no avail. The sun sapped our energy to the point that we had to call it a day by 1.30pm. Prizes? Let you know if we win anything next week. It was an awesome day, I encourage more of you to join next year.

Queenies are in numbers in Horseshoe Bay, as are the Trevally schools that love to hang in the weed beds. Fishing the boat ramp at night has been rewarding as the jelly prawns come closer to shore after dark. Next week should be an active week for Barra so get out there and have a go.

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

Cheers Dale

FNF Outdoor Adventure Center

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

For all of your fishing and sports hire gear. We hire and sell fishing rods, plus snorkel equipment, bait, tackle, ice, spear fishing equipment, sports, party, pool toys, bike hire and new Reefboards for safe easy snorkelling. We also have car hire, E- bike hire and Segway tours, plus kid’s lolly wall and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24 hour Ice 7kg $5.

Fishin’ Maggie

What’s New On The Rock

Debris and big logs are causing major issues boating around the Island after the rains pushed all the vegetation out of the creeks and into the bay. Take due care. One local up side of the heavy rain, (and there are many), is thundering waterfalls at Endeavour/ Dogshed/ Joyce/ Huntingfield and Winikie’s (Now happily owned by the Bees- Congratulations.) The fresh water pools are just magnificent. Get up and have a swim. Seeing the kids Boogie Boarding down Gustav again is also awesome and brings back memories.

I have had a young and cute Koala living at 39 Mandalay nearly every day since January. That’s across the road from the shop on our block and is wonderful for Nelly Bay tourism. (Free Koala sighting with every car hire- that’s gold) Mummy Koala had been severely dehydrated before the rains and was placed in Koala care, but unfortunately passed away with kidney failure. (Heat stress/dehydration is a big killer of Koalas in our dry tropics.) Our teenager, Tommy being even lazier than most has made one tree his semi-permanent home. Where else do you get a drive through Koala in the wild?? It’s not all roses with the public however, I recently had difficulty with this one visitor who wanted to feed it and cuddle it and couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t get it down for her. I tried to explain wild animal, big claws, scared, has its own leaves on the tree for food and all those concepts but they were not to be convinced.

Pirtek Challenge – Sunday 18th March

We all know people affected by Prostate Cancer. 2 years ago, my father passed after a losing a long and painful fight with this terrible Disease. To say its degrading and family destroying would be like saying Meter Barra are easy to catch. Well its that time again when you can have an extraordinary and relaxing fishing day and help support the fight against prostate Cancer. Only 25 dollars, (that’s only half a carton of Great Northern) to join and you get a 10th anniversary Cap, Brag Mat and sticker. You also go into the draw to win the major prize, a Stacer 4.65 75hp plus trailer.  Total prizes this year over 200k Our QLD target species this year are Flathead, Whiting and Barra. On the Island we should be chasing Barra, as the other species grow a bit small up here. Join on line @  https://pirtekfishingchallenge.com.au or if you don’t want to do online come pay us and give us your details at FNF and we will do your registration. (No later than 8/3/2018) Grab some mates It’s a great Sunday. You get your entrant number just before start and place your fish on you brag mat with your unique number and take a pic and send to the judges. Simple as that. I will be out there, so we need a few more supporting this awesome day. There are mystery sizes as well, so you don’t have to get the biggest fish.

Fishing Barra

The photo this week is a monster Barra caught at Rowes Bay by long time island Brett from Bungalow Bay. The ownership of this prize is hotly disputed by wife Janelle who accompanied him and decided to have a little jog while he set up fishing base. First cast and this big girl was peeling line. Janelle says it should be her catch, but the proof is in the pic.

This week’s epic fail award goes to PT, who had an embarrassing start to a HB fishing trip. PT was sitting fishing in a tinny off the stinger nets flicking lures. He sat his rod between his legs and lit a smoke. The Rapala lure that was still hanging in the water about 10m out got smashed right at the side by either a queenie or Trevally and in the blink of an eye was gone. It was a sweet little Abu Baitcaster, Good news is I get to order him a new one. ( Sorry mate)

The fresh water has fired up the fishing at Horseshoe Bay, Westpoint, the Harbour and along the mangrove line. Its perfect conditions for Trevally, Queenies, Mackerel and especially the big prize Barra. Andy has 4 under his belt, (three more than me.) I’ve started the season with figures of 5-4-1 Five sighted 4 hooked and one landed, might need new trebles I think. I’m trying 3 new lures and one seems to be a standout, Zerek Barra X- Pro. It has a beautiful swim action, weighted perfectly and seems to attract Barras to check it out.

Next week looks like being a great one as the prawns have been flushed out of the mangroves.

If you aren’t lucky with Barra, Schools of Trevally are close to shore and Goldie’s are extremely edible. I am cooking fresh Golden Trevally as I write this, it is one of the best fish to foil bake, slightly firmer and absorbs all the flavours you add. Bake whole with Ginger, Garlic, salt, pepper, lemon, shallots and dill.

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

Cheers Dale

Fish’n N Fuel’n Sports and Tackle

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

For all of your fishing and sports hire gear. We hire and sell fishing rods, plus snorkel equipment, bait, tackle, ice, spear fishing equipment, sports, party, pool toys, bike hire and new Reefboards for safe easy snorkelling. We also have car hire, E- bike hire and Segway tours, plus HUGE lolly wall and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24 hour Ice 7kg $5.

Fishin’ Maggie

What’s New On The Rock

Finally, some of that wet stuff that everyone else gets but us has finally landed our way. The totals were impressive given there was no real forewarning of a big rain event.

Horseshoe Bay 313 mm

Nelly Bay 232 mm

Picnic Bay 212 mm

WestPoint 288 mm

That’s some impressive totals in there, All the creeks are running, as is the big waterfall at 5 Beach Bay. Some fast follow up rain will be needed to keep the flows going.

That multi tonne rock that fell onto the middle of Horseshoe Bay Road at 11am Saturday morning caused a big stir. Luckily nobody was injured, and the council bulldozer pushed it over the edge to clear the road.

I had a report of illegal gillnetting on the island last week. This affects our fish populations, and the enjoyment of honest recreational anglers. If you see any suspicious activity call 1800 017 116 or there is a Facebook anonymous dob in site on the fisheries App.  Search QLD Fisheries in the App store or Google Play.

What do you get when you combine a fishing kayak, SUP, and a power boat in one…you get the Solo Skiff, A watercraft that allows you to go out and back in minutes, go any distance and fish, stand up when you need to, and launches from the back of a ute. Impressive. Checkout soloskiff.com. $1700 is a good price, and its perfect for Mangroves.

I don’t usually tell Customer stories, but I just have to this week because we had special customers, (if you know what I mean.)

We had a customer hire a manual 4wd to go to Radical Bay and had such a scary time they decided to abort and come back for an auto car for the rest of their day hire. Janie accommodated their request and organised straight away for a Chery to be ready for them. Trying to be efficient Janie said. “We will fill that car for you and you can pay when you fill the Chery tomorrow. The customer said “I don’t want to pay to fill 2 cars, only one, I may as well stay with the manual then. Janie tried to explain it was the same amount of fuel just spread over 2 cars, but this customer just couldn’t understand and had to go check with her friend if it was ok. Customers in the shop were trying to hide smiles as they carried on, but eventually they cracked up.

Fishing Maggie

Where’s the Barra? that’s the big question. The answer… everywhere. While the big ones are still elusive, the 60-85cm are being caught regularly.

Coz and Co have been doing well out Westpoint way, although not till very late at night, Barra have been interfering a feeding frenzy around 11pm (when most of us are in bed.)

Methods of catching have been varied, although Livie’s are always worth a go

TW dropped 5 Barra on popper late at night in the quiet waters of Horseshoe Bay in a brisk session late last week. Tarpon were a much-appreciated side catch, and he had to settle for popper fun with one of the most sought after sportfish in the world. (Shame about the eating quality.) Poppering is such a rewarding way to fish, seeing the fish hit the lure is just the best buzz, close to the thrill of the hit during fly fishing.

What Bait for Barra fishing. Surprisingly most Barra caught in the last 2 weeks has been caught on dead bait, despite well-presented livie’s being dangled in the same area. Mullet and Gar fillet seem to be working better, not sure why. (Don’t forget to use Wide Gap hooks for a better hook-up rate.)

One of those 2 little Mangrove crocs was spotted Tuesday, head up for a look while the boys were out in the Mangroves, only small 1m, but curious watching the goings on.

Thursday sees a massive 4.07 Tide at 8.07 am, that’s a great tide for a mangrove run, although all week should be perfect Barra fishing as the creeks push the baitfish and prawns out onto the flats.

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

Cheers Dale

Fish’n N Fuel’n Sports and Tackle

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

For all of your fishing and sports hire gear. We hire and sell fishing rods, plus snorkel equipment, bait, tackle, ice, spear fishing equipment, sports, party, pool toys, bike hire and new Reefboards for safe easy snorkelling. We also have car hire, E- bike hire and Segway tours, plus kids lolly wall and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24 hour Ice 7kg $5.

Fishin’ Maggie

What’s New On The Rock

Sunday saw the first probable Irukandji sting of the year with a visitor stung inside the nets at Horseshoe Bay. The injured person was medivaced to town and the nets were closed for 24 hours. Given the strong Northerlies, it is not uncommon to have stingers blown in, but its been such a good year, it was a shame to have anyone stung at all

More turtle stories, as more turtle nests release cute little hatchlings. Our own X-Base had a unique and moving experience for their international guests when a clutch of turtles hatchlings from a nearby nest decided that the base concourse was the ocean and somehow managed to get up the stairs and started running through the centre of the concourse where drinkers and diners were gathered.

The quick-thinking team at X-Base doused the lights and assisted the turtles to get back to their watery safety. Well done team. A couple that got washed straight back out of the surf again decided to turn up the beach and head back towards base, but they were gently coaxed to give it another go to get into the ocean.

FNF (Wally and I actually ) had to do a boat rescue on Wednesday, after some picnickers from town decided that halfway down Horseshoe Bay Beach was is a good place for a day picnic. Last week was a shocker in HB, Northerlies creating mucky rough weedy waters, no good at all. The rollers took care of the boat swiftly, swamping the boat and losing mobile phones etc, filling the boat with water and sand.

The boat owner walked up to Horseshoe Bay Store they suggested giving us a call . When you are stuck on a beach and swamped you are no longer Coast Guard’s responsibility (Although they didn’t have Coast Guard coverage anyway), and more the responsibility of MSQ who don’t really do rescues.  It took us nearly 5 hours to sort the situation and I ended up having to launch my boat “Bazinga” just back from town repairs into the crappy waters.   Well you wouldn’t read about it but after getting the distressed boat re-floated and towing it to within 400m of the boat ramp, my boat broke down, with the same issue as before. I couldt believe it, its cost over a grand and not fixed?  I now had to row two boats tied together to the beach and get them out of the water without power, not fun I can tell you. But Wally and I got it done and both boats retrieved thanks Wally.  The three people from town caught the ferry home, and were very embarrassed, I think just wanted the whole situation to go away.

Kids Fishing Competition Late May

I would like to get a kid’s fishing comp organised for late May, but I need some sponsors. Is there anybody out there that wants to do some sponsorship? We have $100, $50, 420 and  $10 sponsorships available We are planning the first Westpoint kids fishing competition, which I think could be a lot of fun, on the high tide, council permitting. Call the store on 4778 5126 if you have a spare $50 or $100 I will also need some donations of time from some parents, if you could register at FNF as well. Robbie A would you donate a Portaloo please?

The local fishing comps are great for kids and introduce a lot of younger people to the wonderful sport of fishing. We will be also organising transport for those without the means to get there and back. More soon

Fishing Maggie

With the typical winds for this time of year being hot Northerlies, most fishing has been restricted to calmer cleaner spots, mainly Nelly Bay and Westpoint area In the chase for Barra at WestPoint, many sharks and rays are taking bait, so I rather think lures might be the better way to get Barra without wasting time with sharks. (The excitement that happens when the line bends over and line peels out wanes quickly the second you know it’s only a shark or ray.)

The fish of the week went to a dedicated Melbourne angler, George. George landed a 75 cm Barra, his first ever, off the concrete block at Nelly Bay, on strip Diamond scale Mullet. (That’s the same place that Mikayla got her first Barra 12 years ago.) Without landing net, he had to quickly hand the rod to his wife Ally, with instructions to keep reeling in very slowly, and bolt down the rocks to grab the fish. He showed me some nice cuts, created in the process, caused by the lively Barra not rocks.

Roo smashed out a whole bunch of big Grunter in an all-night trip to his favourite Grunter spot off Westpoint.  Grunter, or Javelin fish are a great fish to chase at night, they come on strong on the change of tide on the mid tide. They would arguably be our most consistent edible catch around the Island, (apart from the estuary Cod)

February is quiet times, so hot that many hang up their rods for a while. Don’t give up take a couple of beers and try night fishing around the Bommies.

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

Cheers Dale

Fish’n N Fuel’n Sports and Tackle

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

For all of your fishing and sports hire gear. We hire and sell fishing rods, plus snorkel equipment, bait, tackle, ice, spear fishing equipment, sports, party, pool toys, bike hire and new Reefboards for safe easy snorkelling. We also have car hire, E- bike hire and Segway tours, plus kids lolly wall and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24 hour Ice 7kg $5.

Fishin’ Maggie

What’s New On The Rock

There have been no jelly fish in the lifesaver drags, in any dragged bays, a great year for swimming this year so far. (Not so good for stinger suit sales.) Mind you if we think we have problems with Jellyfish, check out the Japanese scourge. Nomora’s Jellyfish. They estimate 20 billion of these 90 kg 4m wide  Jellyfish are causing periodical havoc to fishing boats and the ecology. Imagine if we had thousands of them up on the beaches, tourism would be impossible.

No decent rain still and its February. Our dam is at 15 percent and even the mighty Burdekin is only 74%.

I went with a few friends to do the magical sunset fishing at WestPoint; you know BBQ snags, beer, fishing and all that great stuff that goes with it. Janie was getting slaughtered by bugs and even got bitten through her clothes by unknown but vicious blood suckers. The next day she looked like Rocky after a world title boxing match, all red patches and swollen. Funnily enough nobody else saw a bug all night. (I encourage everyone to take someone with sweet blood fishing with them, it saves the whole group.) Anyway the next day Bert from WestPoint dropped in to the store. It turns out we had left a Quantum smoke combo still plugged into the rocks with line in the water all night. Thanks for saving it and your honest Bert. Great guys out at WestPoint. Bert said there was no fish on the end of the line though.

We did our first Repo this week just like on the TV shows. (Repo Man) Matt told me there were two of our hire bikes overdue by more than 24 hours after pulling out some paperwork at the shop, and no phone call. We called the numbers on the paperwork for hours and no reply. After some great detective work and help from a local accommodation house, we tracked the offender’s holiday location down.  Wally and I went there and knocked on the door several times, but nobody was home. We found the bikes around the side, rang FNF and got the lock combination, then took our bikes and rode off down the road back to work, it was all pretty exciting. The only problem was Matt had grabbed the wrong paperwork and this couple had the bikes for another 24 hours.  When they walked to the shop they weren’t too happy. (Moral of the story- check your facts first)

In another bike incident, last week, a very large Argentinian man hired an electric bike and on the way up Horseshoe Bay Hill decided to have a look at the scenery by veering to the right where the ocean views are. Unfortunately, he forgot he still had the power on L4 and went straight over the cliff, falling about 2 1/2 m and taking bark off arms legs back and face. The embarrassed and mangled rider got up, pulled the 24kg bike back out, then rode all the way back to the store still bleeding. Janie helped mop up the blood on his arms and back and legs, after which he asked us to check the bike over so he could keep going. Damn, they build them tough in Argentina.

Fishing Maggie

The fish of the week would have to go to Toby, with a 10kg monster GT off the beach at WestPoint on 20lb line. It is always top sport fighting such a powerful fish, and off the beach can be a real challenge for the big ones because they take a lot of line and fight hard. GT’s and Queenies were the go all week on the top of the high.

It only took a little rain, and mud crabs are on the menu again, and solid they are too. Most pots that are out have finally started producing more crabs than Cod. Yep big fat Cod just love squeezing into those pots looking for whatever smelly bait you have on offer. One surprise last week was a Coral Trout caught in a pot in the harbour, now that’s a rare catch. One question asked regularly is “Can you keep fish that get caught in the pot?”   I have asked fisheries this question because the pots are targeting crabs and Cod and Bream are a regular side catch. The only answer I get is that Fisheries are not in the habit of fining crabbers who get a fish in their pots and keep them.

Spotted Mack’s of the beach at Horseshoe Bay? Yes unusual but welcome catches in an otherwise uninspiring fishing week on the Island.

I had a top little session at Cockle Bay chasing Bar Tails and small GT;s in the weed beds just past the Blue house. Cockle Bay is a haven for Fly fishing; those GT’s causing plenty of shallow water action.

Barra Season Is Here

Are you all ready?? Barra season is here, and Midday Thursday is the big day. Normally that is my one day off but in typical bad planning Janie going to visit Mikki at Nowra Navy Base Thursday for 4 days, which means I do open till close at work. When I realised the big stuff up I called them both separately and asked really nicely if I could change Janie’s travel dates. I explained “cause its Barra season opening day” I thought what would work, but they both treated me like I was nuts. Please send your disgust at her lack of support to Mikki via Facebook.

Where are the Barra? Off the points at Horseshoe Bay, Arthur Bay, and of course along the Mangroves from Bolger to Young Bay. The harbour still has a heap, in fact at least 2 massive ones are living under the Sealink Pontoon. For the smaller ones hit Ned Lees Creek and Picnic Bay.

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

Cheers Dale

Fish’n N Fuel’n Sports and Tackle

36 Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay 4778-5126

For all of your fishing and sports hire gear. We hire and sell fishing rods, plus snorkel equipment, bait, tackle, ice, spear fishing equipment, sports, party, pool toys, bike hire and new Reefboards for safe easy snorkelling. We also have car hire, E- bike hire and Segway tours, plus kids lolly wall and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24 hour Ice 7kg $5.