Report 13/2/18

Mal McKinlay
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Nicole Penfold
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Report 13/2/18

Post by Nicole Penfold » Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:22 pm

A welcome 200mls of rain in early Feb has put a bit more colour back into a crystal-clear Maroochy river. I was hoping that this would translate into a few signature, soldier crab whiting (elbow slappers) and I wasn’t disappointed.

My good mate Gilligan came up from Brisvagas for a couple of days fishing just before the Feb new moon to try out his new $900 fishing reel which he purchased on line for a bargain $28 (those Chinese sure know how to discount). We fished the run back tide on Monday Feb12 at spot X, with yabbies while waiting for the soldier crabs to come out. Gilligan landed a keeper flathead early on, but we only had 1 other keeper whiting and a few juvenile bream after an hour or so. We persisted, fishing the undulations looking for a decent whiting hiding in the deeper washouts. In the river there are many places where these undulations form, from the force of the water running in and out between high and low tide. This has been more so, after the last 2 months of extra big spring tides. As the water level falls below the bold sand banks, the deeper sections are more obvious with a good pair of spotter sunnies. This is where you fish for whiting.

The crabs started to surface so we grabbed enough for a session and headed for spot Y where the undulations were working well. We worked our way through this area, boating 2 nice whiting at 33cm and 34cm respectively, then returned to the top of our run and started working the undulations once more. Our second effort produced 2 more good whiting to 30cm. Not a lot of fish but still a good feed all the same (see photo). We decided to keep our soldier crabs alive overnight and fish the run-in tide in the morning.

To keep your crabs alive out of the water you must make sure they have enough water in the bucket to keep them moisturised at all times. Use a bucket big enough to give them freedom to move around freely. I like to take a small bucket of salt water home with me and keep dousing them and tipping the excess off. Place your bucket so the bottom is on an angle, so they can crawl in and out of the water as they need to. Pick out any dead ones as these will contaminate the rest very quickly. As it was such a hot night I stuck a frozen water bottle in the bucket with them and in the morning, they were all as fresh as a daisy, alive and well.

High tide in the morning was at 7.51am so when we got to the ramp at 5.45am the tide was well and truly covering the sand banks. On the run-in tide the whiting and most other species like to work their way out of the deeper channels and start to forage over the sand banks looking for a tasty yabby, worm or soldier crab. Eventually they will source food in water less than 6 inches deep. This is where you fish for big whiting on the run in, especially at night. We started fishing on one of the big banks out in the middle of the river across from Picnic Point but after half an hour we had no success. We then moved to a spot in the river that I hadn’t fished for 18 months and although we only caught 3 whiting they were the size fish that whiting fishos dream about. The first fish went 34cm and then Gilligan boated a beauty measuring 38cm. Not to be outdone, I locked into my best whiting of the year to land a true elbow slapper at 42cm (see photo). After our efforts of keeping the bait alive overnight and getting to the ramp early, these fish made it all worthwhile.

If you are looking to wet a line around, this new moon phase there are some quality fish in that river with your name on them, so get to it. Please feel free to email me on malcolmmckinlay0@gmail.com.

Good Luck, Mal McKinlay

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