March 2011 Fishing Report

A Taste Of Spanish Mackerel Mayhem!

The Spanish are here! Spanish mackerel that is; those long, mean toothy critters that can run off 300m of line, smoke drag washers and burn thumbs. They are a blast to catch and they taste great.

This month being March 2011, in the gaps between wind and rain, almost every fishing charter has seen some red hot Spanish action. Mako’s skipper Brad revealed that floating baits were taking the majority of fish.

“Fresh baits are best, like gar, fusiliers and small pike,” he reported, “but we’ve caught plenty on fresh pilchards rigged on a set of ganged hooks. There are a few secrets. For instance, make sure your gangs are top quality, sharp and are rigged straight; also make sure you are using big, fresh, undamaged pilchards that have plenty of flash and shine (that’s what attracts the macks); and if the water is really clear, use 200lb non-abrasive mono (crimped) instead of wire.

Yes, you will still get chewed off by the odd fish, but sometimes wire trace will make them refrain from biting,” he said. Brad also pointed out that in most cases a float in the form of a balloon (that will bust when there’s a strike) is the best way to suspend your bait in the water column.Reef Coral Trout

On the bottom things have been far from quiet too. Crews have been getting some nice coral trout and red throat emperor near the reefs. Brad did mention that he’s keen to get back to targeting the deeper water, but the recent big tides have made fishing there near impossible.

“The nannygai should be on the chew, but it’s just a matter of being able to get baits down to them as you rocket through a drift,” he lamented. “The tides are improving though, so my hopes are high for April,” he added.

Another species that has been showing up of late is the elusive and much sought after fingermark. Reefari regular and editor of NQ Fish and Boat magazine, Lee Brake got into a couple of snodgers on a rubble patch near Bailey Island. Lee was using big jerkshad style soft plastics bounced across the bottom to land huge fingermark of between 70 and 85cm.

There have also been reports of these gorgeous golden fish up to 8kg by Nick Munro who has been fishing with live bait off Sarina. Nick revealed that live bait is the only way to go with these prized fish, and in particular live squid are almost a sure thing!

Further inshore, Isaac Toivanen reported some good estuary size fingermark schooling in the St Helens Bay area.

Large Fingermark

Isaac, like Lee, was using soft plastic lures jigged over rubble in deep holes.

Seaforth Barra On Live Bait

Furthermore on the estuary front, barra have been chewing and are in peak condition thanks to an influx of bait and nutrients from all the runoff. With the big tides, fishing for these sportfish has been fairly restricted, but by trolling or live baiting the holes at the very bottom of the tide just as the water starts to run in, you can be in with a fair chance.

Likewise at the top of the tide, plenty of bait is washed out of the creeks and will be set upon by cruising predators that patrol the shallow coastal flats. Long casting with shallow minnows like B52s and the trusty Gold Bomber is a top tactic!

In the impoundments things have been hot and cold with Kinchant and Peter Faust producing the majority of the noteworthy fish. At Kinchant, fish over the 110cm size have been taken casting around the weedy points on dusk with soft plastics and surface lures.

Trolling is still an option also, with yours truly getting a nice 84cm fish up there the other night. This fish fell to a Manns Stretch 30 8’ diver – an absolute behemoth of a lure.

The boys were pretty quick to give me heaps when I put it on, claiming that “the barra will probably mate with it, not eat it,” and “your best bet will be jagging one – they won’t be able to get out of the road!”

However, I had the last laugh when the solid little (by Kinchant standards) barra decided that the Manns was dinner!

That’s it from me. Here’s hoping for a dry and calm April,

Greg Reynolds