Yet again we've had a rather wet week and the weekend forecast looks no different. And as I've said in previous fishing reports, the wet weather does no harm to fishing; in fact it is a good thing. It might put you out for a short while but members if the crabbing fraternity are rubbing their hands together with glee as this upcoming weekend will great for crabbing - without a doubt!
The bulk of the rain has given the rivers and estuaries a great flush out, often bringing jews, jacks, cod, crabs and even some of the bigger flathead out of hiding from up river. Similarly to the king tides we had shortly after Christmas and Australia Day, a big wet period means many anglers will be avoiding the upper parts of the river, choosing to fish the dirty water mark instead. For the crabbing fans - this weekend marks a great period for scattering those pots as wide as the eye can see in all the creek entrances, main channels and canal inlets.
Remember, crabs caught during months with the letter ‘r' tend to be much fuller than those caught during the winter months. Considering we are at the tail end of March, with April almost upon us...now is the time to take advantage of this wet weather. Crabs usually practice hibernation-like activities and burrow deep into holes during winter and malt their shell. They tend to remain empty during these months until they get a chance to grow into their new larger shell. Partially full crabs tend to have a greenish tinge to their shells and full crabs have a darker more browny-blue colour. The best way to tell how full a buck is, apart from observing its colour, is to press down on the under side of the crabs carapace, beneath the point. If the shell indents then the crab is only partly full, and if it does not, then it should be full of meat. Bucks around 1.2kg have been common catches in the channels surrounding Chambers and Channel Islands. Muddies have also been potted in the creeks, the Cod Hole and along the Maroochy Wetlands reach.
The trick with crabbing is to be observant and pedantic about checking them - this way you can get every crab which sneaks in and out of your pot. Of course there is always the chance that a crab may still be in your pot if you leave it without checking on it for hours on end. But the greater the frequency of checking and rebaiting, usually means the greater number of crabs for you to take home. Reports at present is that the ratio of males:females is close to 50:50. If you have a pot with a dominant female trapped inside, most male crabs will stay clear from fear of losing an arm or leg. Wise move that perhaps we humans should consider occasionally.... So removing the female and throwing her back in the water means a hungry male will then enter the pot to feed on the delicacy of mullet frames or rotting chicken carcass that you have on offer.
Being able to distinguish between male and female crabs is a very important way for anglers to play a role in sustainable fisheries. The mud and sand crabs though very different in appearance, both have the same protective cover on their under body. On male crabs this cover is in the shape of a long narrow, pointed flap. The females have a broad, more rounded flap that covers more than half of their underside. All female crabs must be returned to the water after capture. Male mud crabs must measure 15cm from spine to spine on the spines closest to the back swimmer legs. Male sand crabs have to measure 11.5cm from notch to notch on the notch closest to the spines. Each angler can keep 10 male mud crabs and unlimited male sand crabs, but it is important to stress the need to only take enough for your own immediate use and leave some there for the future.
As of March 1, 2009 many recreational fishing regulations changed and crabbing was no different. From that date onwards all crab pots and dillies must have an I.D. tag attached to it with the owners surname and address printed. All traps that aren't attached to some sort of structure must have a light coloured float, no less than 15cm in dimension on the end of the rope.
According to the DPI Fishweb, "In tidal waters, when fishing for blue swimmer crabs, mud crabs and spanner crabs, no more than four crab pots or dillies (or a combination of pots and dillies) may be used per person. Also a person must not possess more than four crab apparatus per person, on a boat on the water. The use of inverted dilly apparatus (witches hats) is to be phased out. The use of this apparatus will be prohibited from 2 April 2010."
So get your pots out and stocked with whole mullet and get amongst the dirty water to bring home a nice muddy for a pre-Easter treat!
LOCAL FISHING REPORT
NOOSA: Plenty of spanish mackerel at Sunshine and North Reefs. Bream on the making tide inside the river mouth and Woods Bay areas. Mangrove jacks taking lures and livies in Noosa Waters and between the lakes. A few flathead on soft plastics in Weyba Creek.
MAROOCHYDORE: Bream to 34cm and whiting around 43cm in the lower reaches on the morning making tide. Trevally on the morning tide along Twin Waters. Mangrove jack on prawn star lures in twin waters canal. Tailor on the top of the tide in the river mouth. Mud crabs in Maroochy Waters canal, Eudlo Creek and Bli Bli.
KAWANA: Whiting, bream and quality flathead in the sand basin. Mud crabs in Kawana Waters. Trevally along La Balsa stretch. Bream around the pontoons and jetties of the lower river. Sand crabs in the bay and out in front of Point Cartwright.
CALOUNDRA: Bream and flathead off the boardwalk. A 90cm flathead was caught and released near the bar. Queenfish and trevally in Pelican Waters.
After several days of heavy rain in the upper river quality crabs migrate with the out going tide into lower system feeding throughout. Luke Smith potted this solid buck in the channel surround Goat Island.
Mitch Bow and his dad work the mangrove lined banks in Eudlo Creek and the Bli Bli stretch over night with fresh mullet and other fish frames in their pots for best results.
Matthew Lindley was fishing with his family from Chambers Island bridge using live worms over the weekend for this 32cm whiting.
John the 'River Rat' was slow trolling a live poddy mullet in the Noosa Woods Bays around 4.45am, when he hooked and landed this very unusual catch, a beautiful 7.5kg barramundi - supplied by www.fishingnoosa.com.au