TOP TEN SPECIES IN THE TENTH MONTH 2010
What's with all this hype about the weekend which has just passed by - the special day Sunday was being the tenth day of the tenth month in the year 2010? I heard there were people demanding their baby is born at 10am, new product launches and couples worldwide saying ‘I do' at the same time... I guess there is something special about the date. We won't experience this sort of phenomena until, well, November next year! But if this was my wedding anniversary I would be much less likely to forget the date!
So to get on the bandwagon that went with the tenth of the tenth of the tenth, a top ten species for the tenth month of 2010 was in order. Spring is a great time of year for fishing as there are both summer species on the move and the tail end of the winter species are hanging around also. Queenslanders look forward to mild October weather to prepare for a long, hot summer ahead. As soon as this hits, I delve into the shed to dust off my best whippy beach rod, quick response pelagic stick and solid short reef combo. The top ten species for October fall into three categories: Beach, Estuary and Reef.
Beach species are getting far more popular in October as the temperatures increase and the amount of sunlight available is greater.
1. Sand whiting can be found in surf gutters all along the SE Queensland coastline as they're enroute to a river or inlet to spawn. Whiting like to search the sea bottom for tasty morsels on the shallower, cleaner banks, where the tide is not running so fast. Fish as light as possible, with just enough weight to keep the bait just on the bottom, a small 00 ball sinker is used on top of the bait. The swell should move your bait enough to look realistic but you can also create bait movement by a slow retrieve with the reel. When the initial nibbling type of bite is felt, be patient and pull hard once the weight of the fish bends the rod.
2. Dart are the other best beach species, both swallowtail and snub-nose dart frequent our waterways. They are primarily a surf species most commonly found from mid New South Wales coast to the northern tip of Fraser Island. Dart, although small and sleek looking carry a pretty big punch of power and tenacity far beyond most other species of fish of similar size. Dart are not fussy eaters and will take most things passing them by, but sand worm and fresh pippie are favourites. Look for deep gutters with heavy white wash from breaking waves on the outside bank for an ideal spot to cast for dart.
Estuary species are plentiful due to the transition from winter to summer.
3. Flathead can be caught year round, but really come out in force as the temperatures rise and often prior to the summer storms. Flathead are essentially daytime feeding fish and tend to get caught on a heavily weighted line with large wide-mouth style hook loaded with huge slab of fish flesh or whole pillie. Flathead are quite lazy, preferring to lie partially buried in the sand, awaiting food to come to them, this is why flathead anglers often hang on the same sandbank season in and season out. Try to convince the flathead that the bait is alive, but unable to escape, and it will rush the bait and take it in one gulp. The subsequent struggles throw pieces of bait around and arouse other flathead in the vicinity, making it a good policy to cast back into the same area as quickly as possible.
4. Trevally in a wide variety of species have been feeding up a storm since the September school holidays. They seek out small baitfish in schools which travel up the Noosa, Maroochy, and Mooloolah Rivers and also congregate in the canal systems at Minyama, Kawana and Pelican Waters. The species list includes golden, giant, big eye, diamond and cale cale trevally. Trevally are a great fun fish to temp, play and then land. If you can match the food that the trevally are feeding on with a lure or bait, your chances of a hook up are increased greatly.
5. Mangrove Jack - these fish are as comfortable around snaggy environments as any angler is with a fishing rod in hand. Their favourite habitats include rocky structures, bridge pylons, and fallen trees, under pontoons, deep holes and, as adults, inshore reefs. Live bait is generally the best, due to the appeal of a moving prey. Poddy mullet, diver whiting, prawns, gar, herring and hardy heads are all good locally found Jack food. When Jacks are really on a hot bite they will take most whole fish types of bait like W.A. pilchards, whitebait and even strips of mullet fillet.
6. Mud crabs have been on the move big time after the recent offering of rain from the weather gods. Bucks are averaging 1.5kg and are full of sweet, succulent white flesh. Be vigilant in checking your pots on the hour and you will have greater chance of success. There are many feisty females around which are cashing in on the whole mullet baits on offer in pots, once a female is in your pot, no male in 100m radius will go in there while the female protects her territory. If you are quick enough to remove the female, there's more chance of a male getting potted. Just remember male mud crabs must measure 15cm from spine to spine on the spines closest to the back swimmer legs.
Offshore fishing is hotting up, providing the wind stays down so you can get out amongst the action!
7. Grass Sweetlip are in excellent numbers at present on most local reefs between Noosa and Caloundra. The warmer months are always best to target them on the inshore reefs and their size and power when caught is what temps most anglers. They are predominantly found in larger population at both Inner and Outer Gneerings, Murphys, Coolum Reef and Sunshine Reef. Pillies, whole slimy Macs, yakkas and well-presented whole squid are their preferred diet and presentation goes a long way with Grassy's as they do tend to be finicky at times. Grass Sweetlip fans on the coast swear by the floating style of rig due to the fact the most common catch areas are shallower inshore reefs.
8. Venus Tuskfish are a beautiful looking fish which packs a punch when hooked up. Anglers revel in the fight with a Tuskfish and have to be prepared to fight hard the second the run begins as once you give a Tuskfish an inch they will duck and hide which will only leave you with a snag. They are mostly found in warmer Queensland waters and weights around 1-3kg are common. Parrot as they are more commonly known as (for their small parrot-like mouths) feed on small crabs, prawns and baitfish. Very rarely will a parrot hit a lure. You will find a parrot around the edges of shallow reefs, gravel patches and drop-offs surrounded by coral and reef.
9. Pearl Perch are certainly one of the most prized of all table fishes. The flesh is pure white, moist and very sweet to taste. They are a sought after offshore species on the Sunshine Coast with popular zones of rock, reef or rubble seabeds, particularly near pinnacles and major reef structure being their habitat. Pearlies are found in water depths from about 30 to 120 meters, so anchoring and berleying over offshore reefs will produce good catches. The secret is to present your baits amongst the berley - this might mean using berley bombs when there is any substantial current. The other effective method used often on local feeding grounds is drifting reefs and gravelly areas. Baits such as squid, fleshy slab baits, pillies and whole yakka are good, plus metal-bodied deepwater vertical jigs and crystal ball/octo-jigs are highly popular at the moment. Allow all jigs to sink to the bottom and then very slowly retrieved for 5-10m before being dropped back to the bottom and the process repeated.
10. Mackerel in all varieties including spanish, spotty, school and dog are on the move along the Sunshine Coast beaches in search of food.Rock walls, spits and points, local close inshore reefs, bays like Mooloolaba, Laguna and even reefs out wide from Caloundra and Noosa are stomping grounds for mackerel. When trying to locate where the mackerel are feeding, first look to sky and to the water surface for the tell tale signs. These signs include birds hovering and circling over a particular area and birds diving into the water to feed. It is also important to always keep one eye on the water looking for splashing, fish surfacing and chopping or bait fish skipping. If you can find the bait, hopefully the mackerel shouldn't be far behind. Some days lures work better and other days troll baits, so it always pays to try your luck with both. A lure that is always a sure-fire hit with mackerel is the Berkeley Frenzy Mungo. These deep diving minnows are about the same size as a big slimy mackerel and have a great tight action when trolled. They come in a variety of good mackerel colours and will be a sure winner this season, so why not give them a try.
LOCAL FISHING REPORT
Noosa: Bream whiting and a few dart from the mouth. Mangrove Jack and grunter bream from Harbour town and woods bay. Flathead and grunter bream along the Tewantin reach. Flathead and whiting in the Frying Pan and from Munna point. Good numbers of trevally in Woods Bay and Noosa sound. Plenty of mud crabs in the lakes.
Maroochydore: Bream, flathead and grunter bream from Petrie creek and the Cod Hole. Mangrove jacks from the upper reaches on live bait. Whiting from Channel Island to the river mouth. Good numbers of mud crabs from the upper reaches and in the creeks.
Kawana: Whiting, bream and flathead around McKenzie’s bridge. Trevally on soft plastics and poppers in the canals. Jacks throughout the upper reaches on live bait. Plenty of bream around La balsa Park and the boat moorings. Large numbers mud crabs moving throughout the river.
Caloundra: School Jew in the lower reaches of the river on live bait. Bream off the board walk and in the canals. Whiting and grunter bream in Bells creek. Mangrove Jacks in Coochin creek on live bait. Mud crabs from Bells and Coochin creek.
The best month for catching big female dusky flathead is October. Generally you can find a big female with several smaller males hanging together in the same spot.
As the water temperature rises, mangrove jack will become more active feeding on bait and lures that is casting into their territory. Check out Shadow's nice specimen.
Summer and golden lined whiting are starting to school in the lower reaches of the most rivers and will continue to increase in numbers as the weather warms up this month.