Weekly Report 14 Dec 08

Water Tower Bait & Tackle
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Weekly Report 14 Dec 08

Post by Brad » Sun Dec 14, 2008 5:02 am

The billfish have certainly made their presence felt with good numbers of small juvenile blacks, mostly in the 15kg to 25kg mark, being caught in Trench and Hutchies areas off The Cape. A few larger specimens to over 40kg have also been about and provide good sport on the standard light tackle billfish gear of 8kg line class. Many boats are reporting multiple strikes and up to five landed for a days fishing which is pretty good for these waters. These smaller blacks are often around in numbers and double, triple and even quadruple hookups have been reported. They have even been around in the shallower water such as north of Western Rocks and also Yellowpatch with one caught in 13m of water during the week on a Bahama lure, one of the more successful offerings this season. I have even witnessed a small juvenile black caught inside the bay on a livie at the Curtain Artificial some years ago and another near the mouth of the Rous so if you can find good concentrations of bait there is always the chance that a small juvenile marlin may be in the vicinity.

Reports of schooling mackerel are on the increase with anglers finding small schools of both spotted and school mackerel at a variety of locations throughout the bay. Middle Bank, Naval Reserve Banks, Comboyuro, western end of Pearl Channel and the flats between Scarborough and Sandgate have all held the odd school. Nowhere has been consistent but if you keep your eyes open and have a high-speed spin rod ready rigged with a chrome slug whilst traveling throughout the bay, then you are in with a good chance of tasty mackerel fillets for dinner. Other pelagics, especially small mack and frigate tuna have also been schooling in various areas of the bay. These provide a lot of fun on 2kg to 4kg spin gear but longer fights may result in them being eaten by one of the larger whalers and tigers which are often cruising near these schools looking for the chance of an easy feed. Longtails and larger mack tuna have been reported but are the exception at the moment.

A few snapper are still being caught around the bay islands, mainly at the extremities of the day, dawn and dusk, and during the darkened hours. Anglers have predominately been targeting them with soft plastics but quality baits will also yield results, especially around the change of tide. Sinking a soft plastics around the edges and under schools of pelagics can also produce results because snapper often cruise these margins feeding on the wounded baitfish left after the pelagics slash into the bait balls. The numbers of flathead continue to get better every year and for the recreational angler they are probably one of the easiest species to catch as they will eat almost anything put in front of them. I have even caught one once on a jelly snake lolly just to prove a point some years ago. Drifting the channels and flats with small, whole fish baits such as whitebait, frogmouth pillies and hardiheads or even a strip of fillet bait will almost ensure a few flatties in most estuaries. Species such as bream, trevally, tailor, whiting, flounder, rays and other species can also be caught with this method. It is a very simple yet productive way to fish and your main hazards are snags and avoiding other craft in the area.

The various banks and adjacent gutters in the bay such as Amity Banks, Little Sand Hills, Maroom Banks, Blue Hole, Browns Gutter, Little Ships Channel and Rous Channel have all been producing good numbers of whiting, however you need to move around a bit to find the schools of these tasty morsels at times. If you are looking for a bit of fun on light line (I predominately use 4kg mono) then head out into the bay and chase a few of the many small whalers in the bay. These little fellas (mainly 6kg to 15kg) are about everywhere and it doesn’t take long to get their attention once you start a tuna oil slick whilst drifting. Float a few whole fish baits such as pillies, or my favorite gar, out into this slick and you should hook up before too long. Be careful handling them as although they are only small sharks they still have very sharp teeth. A large landing net is good for securing and holding them whilst you unhook and release them.
May your bait be nervous. Gordon Macdonald.

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