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.

Fishin’ Maggie

What’s New On The Rock

My new fishing toy “Zombaits” have arrived from the US, and they really look the goods.  However everyone I showed couldn’t help smiling when I turned one on to show them how they work, they just don’t look right wiggling away without a dead fish around them. Next week if I can get any of my stupid boats going,  I’ll give them a burl and see what happens when I drop them out at the shipping channel. At $70 each there will be heavy wire on them.

More stock of the Chaserbait “Ultimate Squid” have arrived, they really look the goods. I gave a tester pack to Josh, and he’s going to drop some out at Chicken Reef and see if they perform as promised.

I ordered the micro Penn rigs for the 1lb invitational challenge, to be held on the jetty in late March. 10 Anglers working super light gear trying to land the biggest fish on only 1 lb line. That’s going to test the super anglers skills somewhat. Winner will get the best light angler award Magnetic Island. I will have more information about this fun event very soon.

I have a mate who professes to be a great angler. Last week he was out with some young anglers, new to NQ fishing. As luck would have it a huge Spaniard hooked the big 50lb overhead, just off Orchard Rocks and the braid started peeling off, ratchet clacking full noise. One of the young fella’s was right on to it, he jumped straight on the rig and started fighting the whopper Spanny, which was easily 20kg plus. As you imaging the fish was taking a while coming in, and my mate was getting a bit impatient. Being a man of vast experience he stepped forward and pushed the drag lever higher, explaining to the novice that doing that would help get the fish in faster. As he did the line snapped at the leader and the fish escaped. I can only imagine the pain they both felt at this moment. Moral of the story, if someone is doing just fine on their own, don’t intervene.

Cleveland Bay water temperatures have hit 30 degrees for the first time this year, that’s bath tub stuff. That pushes a lot of fish out deeper and makes Horseshoe Bay enter its quiet times, really hard fishing. Now is the time to work the points and the deeper waters. I like Fish Cove, deeper clearer waters and big Trout and Stripey’s.

Whale sharks are around again. I haven’t seen them out here for years; the last time was out at Arab reef with Adam at night. Whale sharks are filter feeders, so that should mean healthy plankton and krill levels somewhere near here, great to see. We were keen to swim with the one that hung around our boat, but not one of us was was game to leap in the water at night, we were all too chicken. When you fish out deep you know how big the sharks are.

Fishing Maggie by Land

While the Flathead have gone deep, the Queenies have come in closer to the beach. One thing about feeding Queenies, they will sweep right into the shallows near your feet chasing bait. Last week one supercharged queenie scared a big prawn right out of the water next to my feet. I tried to grab it as it frantically tried to get back to the water and just grabbed it in time. On the hook and in the water and bang, a Queenie was on. I was kind of hoping for a Grunter but it was something. Live prawns are top bait and rarely stay long on the hook. The prawn was a good size; try a cast net on the high tide to get some dinner. I use a milk crate and a cast net and stand in the shallows on the outgoing tide.

With the main catch Queenies and Trevally off the shore, small chromies and poppers are working well. For bait fisherman fillet of gar on light line with 20lb leader and 2 x size 1 sinkers is all you need, along with patience.

Fishing Maggie by Boat

JH hooked up on a massive 500lb plus Black Marlin off Myrmidon on the deep water on 30lb gear. That’s a big fish. He also reported plentiful Yellowfin and Mahi Mahi in the clear waters in the area. There is also a wonderful lagoon for swimming safely 70 nm out to sea. If you haven’t done a big trip out deep, put it on your bucket list, it’s just incredible out deep.  I’ve been out in several styles, the first in a large A/C game boat trolling all the way. Upon arrival we did some loops around Myrmidon and trolled back in, watching TV and having a cold beer from the fridge. The other trips, in smaller boats on small hot decks with sweaty anglers and beer in eskies and I definitely prefer the latter.

The Spaniards should be out deeper but some nice fish have been caught off Barber Island and through the Palm channel where the bait is still thick and close to shore.

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 lolly wall and convenience supplies. Check out Kooler 24 hour Ice 7kg $5.

Fishin’ Maggie

I took a lovely lady from Sydney on a Segway tour on Friday. She is a nurse and told me some interesting stories. One of the stranger ones was that in Langkawi and much of Asia they deal with stingers by spraying WD40 on the wound, apparently it takes the pain away. I hadn’t heard of that before, it needs further investigation.

She also told me her friend was killed on the jetty in the early 70s after a car driven by some elderly people drove down the jetty and crashed off the side also killing all 4 on board the car. That would make it one of our biggest fatal accidents ever.  Here’s an unusual one, the first  report from Geoff in a Stessr 4.95 Sunday was that while he was fishing the shipping channel a Marlin surfaced, followed the boat, swam up to the side, checked things out and slowly swam away. What a rush that would have been. After that 2 more reports, including ProDive of a Marline cruising the channel,that’s as good as it gets.

Thought the Grey Mackerel have left? They should have but they have made a spectacular return appearance off middle reef in big numbers for some reason. Maybe the bait schools have stayed closer, it is very late for Grey’s, but no one is complaining.

The weather looks perfect for the Christmas period, enough breeze to stop the lead melting on your line but calm enough for a snorkel.

Holiday season Feature Bay Picnic Bay Jetty

Picnic Bay jetty is a favourite for relaxed family fishing. It is close to the R&R Bar for refreshments and with shade for the hot or rainy days. Midway down the jetty there are weed covered coral bommies.  This area provides excellent fun for young kids to catch and release Juvenile Grassy Sweetlip, estuary and Gold Spot Cod and dozens of reef species. The best Bait is small prawns and squid. Lure with small Berkeley Gulps, small RMG’s, squid jigs and small jigs.  The end of the jetty has a dredged sandy sea floor and harbors schools of bait fish that attract Trevally, as well as Queenies. These fish feed just on and after dark as well as early am. They will often take soft plastics and well-presented bait and livie’s. Bait fish can be caught on a $3 Jig rig or by cast net. Live Bait is tops for catching large pelagic species which periodically stalk the jetty. These include Trevally, Mackerel, Barracuda, Catfish, Cobia, Queenfish as well as Reef species including Coral Trout, Cods, Emperor and feisty Sweetlip.  Also present are many species of sharks including Reef sharks, Tiger sharks, Hammerheads, Shovelnose, and Stingrays. The largest Pelagic caught here in the last couple of years was a 37kg Spanish Mackerel, off a floated Pillie.  The jetty has sun cover at the end, is great for spotting Turtles, Eagles, Kites large Rays, Eagle Rays and the occasional Dugong. A Dugong sighting can make your holiday. Watching sunset over the mainland is a spectacular while fishing from the end of the jetty.

Fishin’ Maggie

What’s New On The Rock

Last week’s big blow was most unexpected, a super strong storm cell that wacked the island. Wind gauges on Yachts in the harbour measured up to 56 knots, that’s over 100km per hour. Several yachties were telling me there were waves breaking over their boats, and that was in the Marina. Lucky the whole event was short lived, but unfortunately only 8mm of rain. If sustained for 10 minutes those winds would have been Category 2 equivalent.

Windy.com long range forecasting has forecast top conditions for the Christmas, Boxing day period of under 10 knots. Let’s hope they are correct. There might even be a couple of reef trips if its that calm.

We had another mishap last week, a financially costly one. Happily fishing his favourite spot after dark, he was helping his wife pull in a suspected big fish/shark when his rod bent over in the rod holder and the line started peeling out. At the same time the rod and rod holder started leaning forward, a sure sign the drag is just a touch too tight, or sand too loose. A Conundrum, keep helping the wife with her catch, or dive for the other rod. Scott chose a combination of the two, trying to keep helping, while pulling the rod with the fish on it toward his straining rod. Alas too slow, the fine sand gave way and the rod took off for the mangroves, never to be seen again. Crabbers at Young Bay, there is an expensive rig somewhere near the mangroves. If you find, can you please drop to FNF so I can make a hard working guy very happy. After the boating mishap recently causing the bad injury to his wonderful wife, he needs a fishing break. He did report some top fishing at WestPoint with the lines being very active after dark.

Fishing Maggie

Picnic Bay Jetty had a brief visit from a school of Herring that fired up the fishing for several  days. Queenies and GT’s followed the Herring and were most welcome on visitor’s lines.

WestPoint is the most active spot to throw in a line, all the way from the top bay to Young Bay just after the high. Those big chunky rod straining Blue Salmon are back in numbers, great fun if you have guests up for Christmas. For those anglers who bait fish with a little finesse, try peeled local prawns floated over the top of the shoals on the turning high tides for Grunter and Trevally. Goldie’s are plentiful and top eating baked in foil with a little lemon, salt and pepper.

One of my regulars got a flattie on pillie at Cockle Bay. The mid-sized Flathead must have been hungry to take a pillie. Cockle Bay has to be one of my favourite fishing bays, great views, the best sunsets and top fishing on the right tides. Fish the weed beds past the blue house.

For the boaties, Coral Trout, Golden Trevally and Mackerel, are the current fish run around the Island. Good news is they are all tasty eating. For those chasing the elusive Grey’s, they are midway between Cordelia Rocks and Bay Rock, but moving fast. Most are the 900-1.15m Fish too, the good eating size. Heaps of Golden Trevally in the Grunter holes off WestPoint taking my red white Qantas RMG lures. The Coral Trout population around the island remains very healthy, in fact for shallow waters there is more per bommies than Lodestone, remarkable really.  For the night anglers on boat Gold Spot Cod are hitting floated squid off White Rock and Bay Rock.

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