Well it’s that time of the year again where the Westerly’s have begun to make an appearance and the water temps have started to plummet. The weather has been up and down with most of the ups occurring during the weekdays before blowing just in time for the weekends. As most would be well aware by now the area off DI/Fraser has had a green zone proposal put in place and to say it’s caused an outrage would be understatement. The area of interest is not small, medium or large but bloody humungous and there has been much controversy over how much of it could possibly be green zoned or if not all of it. I could go on all day long about as it gets my blood boiling like so many others and I thank everyone of you who has contributed so far in trying to make this ridiculous proposal less detrimental for everyone in concern.
Righto back to the fishing and it’s been a bit hit and miss going by some of the reports around the place with the current causing problems at times out wide for reef fishing but it’s been a cracker season for Mackerel and many have had some of their best catches in a long long time. I managed a trip off Fraser/DI just before this edition went to print and headed out through a dead flat bar and a calm sea all the way out wide. I headed out the bar and 50km out ran over a small show at full speed showing just a tiny slight rise with a few specks above it on the furuno 585. Like always I went back to investigate and found a small rubble patch less a couple metres high with a small show of fish and bait scattered above. First drift and a triple hook up for the lads, which made for a great start and even better when it’s off a newly found spot. My good mate Mark was with me this trip and had never caught a Red before so his virginity was broken quickly with a nice red and this giving me much satisfaction in achieving it for him.
A few more drifts accounted for a mixture of reefies being pulled over the side and whilst at the end of one drift noticed another nice show 200mtrs east of the first spot. Foxy hooked up on quality fish on the first drop and a beautiful Coronation Trout hit the surface and went quickly into the esky. Moses Perch, Hussar, Gold spot wrasse, Maori Cod and Reds followed soon after on the same spot before I moved on looking for new country and to fish some previous marks that had been fishing well in the past year or so.
Most spots didn’t have much of a show, which was disappointing although the one spot that looked better then the rest soon produced a solid hook up on a hussar fillet. Line was peeling off my reel with reasonably light drag setting and before long the best red of the trip laid flapping around on the floor. After seeing thousands of reds flopping around on the deck in my time I call tell you there is no better sight then these beautiful fish.
Hussar were present on most spots as per usual and destroying baits soon as they reached the bottom, which can be painful at times. Apart from being tasty on the dinner plate they make great baits when filleted or butterflyed as well. A lot would have heard or experienced that where you find Hussar you commonly find Red Emperor. In general it’s thought that the Red Emperor follow the hussar and feed on them which is why most use Hussar as a favoured bait. In my opinion I don’t believe this is correct due to the lazy and somewhat non-aggressive feeding nature of a Red and not once have I gutted a Red Emperor to find a Hussar inside the gut cavity. The relevance between these two species is the actual ground they inhabit so in general where you find Hussar the better chance you have of finding Red Emperor but keep in mind this generally works best in areas north of Noosa/Double Island Point.
With the day getting on and a good mixed bag of fish in the esky I decided to go back to the new spot I first pulled some reds off that morning. I anchored up and waited for the dusk bite period but just as the sun disappeared so too did the fish and the area beneath us become a desert. The spot 200mtrs away was exactly the same and what produced a good catch of reds, hussar, parrot, cod, coronation trout, gold spot wrasse, Moses perch during the day was now a baron lifeless waste of time. As odd as this sounds it’s actually very common for this to happen in areas that don’t have large structure such as small gravel reefs and small isolated bumps. During the day light hours bait will gather on these spots and attract reef fish from the surrounding areas making it look like a fantastic full of life reef. I have witnessed particular spots slowly come alive as the sun rises and watching the sounder during this time makes for an interesting view. Come dusk you watch the exact reverse happen and the only way of knowing if a spot can do this is to fish them during these times and keep in mind which ones produce this strange effect. The only other way to avoid this is by choosing the ground you want to anchor on before dusk or dawn. By this I mean choosing a reef that is large in structure, as they tend to hold the bait and attract a large range of species that will feed during the bite period or later that night.
With a predicted SE change to come through the next day I had a feeling it may come through earlier then predicted and also a lot stronger. I headed back to DI that night and slept in the bay which turned out a smart idea as the SE came through that night and was blowing over 25 knots by lunch time the next day. With conditions sloppy the next morning I decided to fish in close only a few km’s off the headland. Drifting over some gravel areas produced some nice squire, grassy sweetlip and pearlies before I started heading for home but before long I ran over a great show of fish NE of the pinnacles and squire started coming over the side instantly. We also caught some more pearlies, grassy sweetlip as well as a big gold spot estuary cod before we headed for the bar as conditions become worse.
Was great to see some good fish in close at the moment and hopefully guys with smaller boats can take advantage of this as the cooler weather approaches.