PRE-CHRISTMAS BOATING TIPS
Christmas is now exactly one month away and don’t start shaking your head in disbelief because a certain white-bearded man has been doing the rounds in a certain shopping centre for weeks now. I hope you are reading this early enough to calculate the weeks, albeit even be it only days until the onslaught of junior boaties, sandcastle builders, swimmers in your favourite gutters and of course hundreds of 6ft kiddie rods cast off every jetty, rock wall and beach between here and the shopping centre (where their very smart-thinking mothers buying Christmas presents in air-conditioning!).
As well, the influx of interstate and international tourists is evident from the record crowds already hitting the local beaches and rivers. With this in mind, remember to play it safe on all waterways during the Christmas and school holiday period.
The Noosa, Maroochy, Mooloolaba and Caloundra waterways are always crowded with all types of water craft and swimmers during the busy Christmas to New Year’s period, however if we get a run of nice summery weather in the lead up, everyone will take advantage of this in great numbers I suspect. So be cautious and take extra care by considering a few of the safe boating regulations:
· Abide by 6 knot zones as they are in place for safety reasons. I see a lot of boats speeding through the Cod Hole area even though it is a 6 knot zone. The slow zone 200m either side of the Motorway Bridge was put in place due to the quantity of boating traffic to pass through this area.
· Stay 30m+ away from any swimmer or non-motorised craft. The number of injuries caused by getting a too close can easily be avoided by keeping a safe distance.
· When using the boat ramps allow plenty of extra time in your schedule to launch as most major ramps will probably have a fair bit of congestion. Make sure your boat is completely ready for launching when you back down to the ramp to avoid holding others up.
· Slow down to 6 knot within 60m of the ramp so that those launching their boats don’t get bashed with a wave of wash.
Like they say in scouts – be prepared. Now is the time to be checking over your boat for safety and maintenance. Leaving things to the last minute can often mean not getting out on the water when you had planned. For instance – charge your marine batteries well before your trip just in case they need replacing.
The following is a pre-trip checklist of items needing to be operating soundly before you can safely take your boat on the water: bungs, safety equipment (oars, pfd’s, anchor and anchor rope, first aid kit, water and sun protection. Epirbs, flares, batteries and even lifejackets have expiry dates – so be sure to have them checked over or serviced prior. Obviously if your boat has been out of action or dry docked for more than a few months – make sure your outboard is serviced and running well.
On the day, whether you are staying in the river or heading offshore, have a pre-departure plan to make sure you are prepared for whatever the weather has to offer.
o plan the trip and fish within your boat’s means
o have an emergency plan and let the other people onboard know it!
o fuel up with some reserve for emergency
o load and check safety equipment
o load first aid and sun protection supplies
o get the latest weather observations and future predictions
o limit alcohol consumption — 0.05 on the water
o tell someone where you are going
With these rules in mind and consideration of our fellow boaties and recreational anglers – everyone should have a relaxing and enjoyable time on our beautiful waterways! The team at Swan Boat Hire would like to wish everybody a safe and happy Christmas and may Santa listen hard to all your tackle requests and put something special under the tree!
LOCAL FISHING REPORT
Noosa: Whiting and Flathead throughout the lower reaches. Trevally in Woods bay on lures. Large numbers of big flathead have been caught and released around the lower reaches . Mangrove jacks in both Lake Cooroibah and Cootharaba.
Maroochydore: Whiting in good numbers around the top of the tide from Chambers Island. Bream from the creek mouths. Trevally on the top of the tide between the cod hole and Petrie Creek mouth. Mud crabs at the mouth of Coolum Creek, the top end of Petrie Creek and around Bli Bli bridge overnight.
Kawana: Sand crabs in between Minyama Island and the rock walls. Mangrove jacks in the canals and in the upper reaches. Trevally throughout the lower river. Mud crabs in the canals and upstream of McKenzie’s bridge.
Caloundra: Trevally in Pelican waters and flathead around Military Jetty. Whiting from the power boat club and at the mouth of Bells Creek. Queenfish from the Boardwalk and around the mouth of Coochin Creek on live bait.
Jackson Ross was fishing at Sunshine Reef with Noosa fishing legend Chicko Vella when he boated this 9kg mahi mahi (supplied by www.fishingnoosa.com.au).
Robert Whiting was fishing in the Maroochy River Cod Hole when he caught a 34cm whiting and 57cm dusky flathead on live sand worms.