FLOOD WATERS HAVE HIDDEN DANGERS
The rising waters in the local rivers and estuaries this past week have had locals wondering if a flood is on the way. Gallons of rainfall coupled with big tides associated with the full moon on March 1 have fishing and boating groups on their toes and looking out for dangers that may follow.
The key ingredients required to create a flood, be it flash or non-flash include: Heavy rainfall caused by severe thunderstorms - isolated storms typically cause flash flooding in relatively small catchments or organised systems may extend to affect more than one catchment. Plus if we add a dash of poor drainage into the mix, caused usually from built up sand or mud, then your flood will fully develop into an erosion causing danger almost immediately. The chance of increased swell or even tidal wave would definitely wreak havoc on our coastline, when combined with flooding.
Floods are classified by the Bureau of Meteorology depending on the local flood gauge height and the resulting level of local community impact as follows:
1. Minor flooding: Causes inconvenience such as closing of minor roads and the submergence of low level bridge.
2. Moderate flooding: Causes the inundation of low lying areas requiring the removal of stock and/or the evacuation of some houses. Main traffic bridges may be closed by floodwaters.
3. Major flooding: This causes inundation of large areas, isolating towns and cities. Major disruptions occur to road and rail links. Evacuation of many houses and business premises may be required. In rural areas widespread flooding of farmland is likely.
Floods and swollen rivers from excess rain can affect millions of people each year, at the least they can effect business and infrastructure and at the worst the water mass can claim lives and cause irreparable destruction. It always pays to know your local area and how to ensure your safety. It is obvious to take caution in and around unpredictable natural weather conditions like flooding, so read to become aware of some of the dangers during and after flooding:
1. Wading through flood waters
Wading through flood waters is dangerous for several reasons. First, flood waters can be moving at a rapid pace. Before you know it, you can be swept away and drown. Next, flood water can contain hundreds of different chemicals that are harmful for the body. In addition, bacteria and other microorganisms can cause disease and infection.
2. Driving in flood waters
Driving in flood waters is dangerous and risky. Cars can be swept away in just a few centimetres of water. Drivers can become stranded with their car being rolled or engulfed in water.
3. Listen to weather warnings
Every river has its own unique flood stage. Every single time a warning is posted for floods, be prepared. Many people assume they are not in a location to be affected by a flood, but this is not true. Once a river reaches flood stage, the results can be disastrous.
4. Using electricity after a flood
Always remember that electrical lines and water do not mix. Standing in water and attempting to remove electrical wires is extremely dangerous. Also remember that even if you do not have power in some locations in your house, not all the lines could be dead.
5. Swimming in swollen rivers
The runoff of water from heavy rainfall not only causes erosion and takes away valuable soil from farming land, residential homes etc, but with the soil can come chemicals, fertilisers and other toxins the human body is not able to cope with. Eyes, ears and respiratory systems can easily be affected after a swim in dirty river water as it is impossible to know could also be in the water. As always avoid diving or jumping into any water you are unsure of the depth or hidden obstacles underneath.
6. Driving on Previously Flooded Roads and Bridges
Floods can damage roads and bridges. Unseen structural damage can mean it is not safe to drive on previously flooded roadways. Be sure that the area has been inspected by officials and approved for travel.
7. Boating in flood waters
Swollen rivers can carry dangerous debris in the form of dead logs, tree branches, weed masses, structures like fencing and wire which may have been caught up in the fast flowing water. Often though, the debris is sitting just below the surface or wedged right in the path of your oncoming boat! Normally you would be able to see the dangerous underlying log but the murky brown water we have after such a large amount of rain is impairing your vision - so take due care when boating, avoid areas close to shore where debris is most likely to get caught.
Common sense is the best rule to apply in situations like flooding, thunderstorms and natural disasters. Though the local rivers and estuaries are not flooding, the increased rainfall and big tides might lead to some flooding over roads this weekend. Fingers crossed that the rain subsides now that our dams are fuller!
LOCAL FISHING REPORT
Noosa: Jacks in Woods Bay. Mud crabs scattered around Weyba Creek and throughout the middle and upper reaches.
Maroochy: Tailor to 3.5kg and jew to 80cm off the beach at Mudjimba over night. Grunter in the Cod Hole. Whiting on live worm in the bar on the 1st of the ebb tide. Mud crabs from the Motorway Bridge up stream.
Kawana: Bream to 1kg from the boat moorings and rock walls on Thursday. Mud crabs in the canals and above McKenzie's.
Caloundra: Bream off the boardwalk. Mud crabs between Bell's and Donnybrook.
Mick Heuistis fished aboard SQCS with Smithy last week at Mooloolaba 8 Mile Reef for this 19.2kg wahoo.
Graham had a good day aboard Anglers Advantage in the middle reaches of the Maroochy catching and releasing flathead on soft plastics.
Graham also worked a bait school around Stoney Wharf for this pan sized giant treally.
Adrian Bernard from Melbourne was on a half day charter to North Reef with Noosa Blue Water Charters when he boated this 5.5kg Spaniard (Supplied by www.fishingnoosa.com.au)
Can you believe a full year has passed since major changes to recreational fishing size limits and bag limits came in to legislation? And to mark the one year anniversary of these changes, anglers need to get used to an increase in size limits with 3 more species on Monday March 1, 2010. With last year's changes came the challenge of educating anglers, policing the waterways and making sure the documentation was readily available to anyone using Queensland waterways.
So a year on, have anglers taken changes in their stride? Local angler Gisle Hemmy welcomed the changes last year and said they never affected him or the way he fished.
"I rarely keep fish and prefer to practice catch and release, however I agree with the increase in bag limits and minimum sizes as 23cm for a bream for instance was realistically too small, just think of the tiny fillet that comes off such a small fish", says Gisle.
Other anglers have applauded last year's increase in bag limits and minimum sizes, even suggesting that if bream minimum sizes are increased, shouldn't whiting be the next one to increase in coming years.
Now while a large number of species were put under scrutiny and researched between 2007 and 2009, thus resulting in the changes in limits we saw in March 2009, some limits were proposed for a later date. Why is this so you ask?
In February last year, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries resource manager Mark Lightowler reminded anglers to grab a copy of the latest bag and size limit rules given the changes coming over the following 12 months. Mr Lightowler also clarified why some limits took longer to implement:
"The size limit for bream will remain at 23 cm until March 1, 2010 when it will change to 25 cm - this delay is to allow both commercial and recreational fishers time to adjust to this change as this is such a popular fish for both sectors."
So as of Monday, be aware of the new regulations for bream, tarwhine and tailor as detailed below:
20 fish limit
Bream (pikey, yellow fin)
Combined limit of 30 in total of pikey, yellowfin bream and tarwhine
Combined limit of 30 in total of pikey, yellowfin bream and tarwhine
Size limits are in the form of minimum size limits and also some maximum size limits. They are not just a random figure plucked out of the air by a government official, but are typically based on biological research into each species' reproductive cycles and projected population protection. Minimum size limits generally allow fish to spawn at least once and contribute to the population before they are taken.
However, in some species the larger individuals contribute more to the population, which is why maximum size limits apply. For example, most barramundi begin their lives as males and later, as they grow larger, become females. A maximum size limit is applied to protect large females and to allow them to spawn. This is also similar with flathead, it should be made well known that the older (and mostly larger) females carry and release the eggs.
Bag limits are the number of fish that one person can legally take and keep. Bag limits are necessary to conserve heavily-exploited species and species that are susceptible to capture. To share the catch more equitably among anglers, reduce the illegal marketing of fish and to promote ethical and responsible behaviour when using a limited natural resource.
And just a reminder that this past year 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.
On a final note, anglers looking forward to the full moon each month may be disappointed in Feb as this month we missed out! There is a full moon on March 1st and a second full moon on the 30th March, the second full moon in a calendar month is called a ‘blue moon'. Believe it or not this is actually the second ‘blue moon' for 2010 as we also had one in January. Anglers who love fishing the full moon will be rubbing their hands together happily as this month they are doubling their luck!
LOCAL FISHING REPORT
Noosa: Tailor to 3.1kg along the north shore. Jacks on live bait and lure around the bridges, rock bars and snags throughout the river. Whiting in the frying pan. Mud crabs in Weyba Creek and between the ferry crossing and the Lake Cooroibah. Spanish mackerel to 18kg on Wednesday from Sunshine Reef.
Maroochy: Whiting around in the river mouth on the marooning making tide. Trevally and bream in the cod hole. Mud crabs from the creeks and Bli Bli.
Kawana: Tarpon on small clear surface lures in Lake Kawana. Plenty of good sized bream in the lower Mooloolah. Mud crab between McKenzie’s bridge and Kawana Way.
Caloundra: Bream off the boardwalk. A few mud crabs in the creeks.
Paul Anderson put in the hard yards on his kayak up off Coolum. His slow trolled extra large pilly caught the attention of this 15.25kg spanish mackerel, which after hooking up almost spool his 8000 sized spinning reel spooled with braid on the initial run.
The brackish water that has been flowing down the river made conditions ideal for young Billy to fish live bait along the rocky bar in the Southern Channel for jack to 2.15kg and estuary cod.
The sand crabs didn't mind the brackish water either, making their way up around Chambers Island on the bigger morning tides. Gisle potted in a matter of 3 hrs.
The Bow family love thier mud crabs and enjoy a morning on the water trying their luck. Mitch and his dad Shayne caught these 4 crabs around the 800-900g mark in the Bli Bli channel.
SUNSHINE COAST GAME FISHING CLUB COMPETITION WRAP UP
The Annual Sunshine Coast Game Fishing Classic was held early this month from the 4th to 7th of February. The competition was fierce this year with over 41 boats and 154 anglers turning up to compete in the Telstra Shop Kawana Waters Classic. It has been designed to test anglers' skills in the light and heavy tackle arena, the coast is the perfect playground for such an event!
After three days of fishing which culminated with a Champagne Breakfast & Presentation on the Sunday - the results were impressive. Overall 76 black marlin, 3 blue marlin and 1 striped marlin were tagged as well as many mahi mahi, wahoo and barracuda. Also pending are two new Queensland records for mahi mahi and barracuda.
Interestingly there were 246 strikes, 196 hookups and 102 tags or captures exceeding line class comprising. The winning boat overall was Shamwari with 9 tagged and released black marlin with 6 of them caught on the first day. Runner up Reel Capture had 8 Tag and Release black marlin and a wahoo was landed weighing in at 8kg. An interesting catch was a barracuda which equalled the current record which was then smashed shortly afterwards by the crew on Double Trouble a 6.5m Kevlacat who presented a 26.7kg barracuda to the scales!
The range of fish was caught in an area spanning from Chardons reef at Noosa to The Hards and Noosa Canyons to as far south as the Gold Coast. Some boats landed fish as close inside as the 8 Mile (50m line) to as far out as Cape Moreton canyons.
These results were fantastic and with a club that is currently has 188 members strong it provided some records for breaking in the coming years. It was nice to see many of the junior members out and about with their parents during the competition. The Club prides itself on being very family orientated. "We have had kids as young as 8 years old catching marlin and sailfish twice their size. Most recently 11 year old Dan Brooks tagged his first blue marlin weighing 200kg, which was a fantastic effort for a kid who only weighs 45kg himself" boasts Club Secretary Megan Withers.
With the only cost to join the club being $90 a year for an individual or $150 for a family of up to two adults and two children, what better way to become involved in a rewarding community-minded organisation whose aim is to promote game fishing on the Sunshine Coast. But also to demonstrate that game fishing is not about a bunch of blokes killing everything that comes to the surface, but is a family activity that helps scientists research these magnificent fish so we can protect them for future generations.
The yearly membership starts at the beginning of the financial year and there is no need to own a boat to become a member. There are often members with boats who are looking for people to go fishing. The boats in the club range from tinnies to a 56' Riviera and everything in between. The common misconception that you need a big boat to go gamefishing has been disproven time and time again within the club. Many of the fish tagged during the year have been done so in small tinny boats.
The SCGFC strongly promotes tag and release. The information gathered has been sent to NSW fisheries where it is stored and used if the fish is recaught. Recently SCGFC was contacted by NSW fisheries to inform us that a black marlin that a member caught off Noosa in March 2009 was recaptured off Bougainville PNG in December 2009.
With their passionate efforts in tag and release the SCGFC has now won "Champion Tag and Release Club" in Australia an impressive eight times, Champion Club in Queensland 12 times, as well as several champion tag and release boats in Australia. Many people don't realise that we have fantastic game fishing off the Sunshine Coast, and in fact that is it some of the best in Australia.
Anyone interested in becoming a member or seeing what sort of steps are involved in Tag and Release of Game Fish should come along to a club meeting. They are usually held at the Kawana Waters Hotel at 7.30pm on the first Tuesday of the month - everyone is welcome
Noosa: Jacks from Tewantin and in Noosa Waters. Whiting and flathead at the river mouth. School jew and trevally in Woods Bay. Mud crabs in the middle reaches and canals.
Maroochy: Whiting just inside the bar and along the southern channel. Trevally along the dirty water line in the lower river on the making tide. Whiting and grunter along the bli bli flats. Mud crabs along the wetlands and
Kawana: Dart and bream in the wash along Kawana. Golden trevally on ½ pilchards from Minyama Island. Bream to 35cm from the mooring and rock walls. Mud crabs in the canals and around the entrance to Mountain Creek.
Caloundra: Queenfish to 1m in length (5.8kg) on live bait off the boardwalk at dawn and dusk. Whiting on the ebb tide from the golden beach stretch. Mud crabs from Bells Creek south.
Champion Boat: Shamwari with 9 tag and released flags flying and with the invitation to the an exclusive tournament in Cabo San Lucas in Mexico next May.
Healthy release: One of Shamwari's black marlin swimming off in great condition
Reel Capture: Reel Capture (7.2m Kevla Kat) back down on one of their 8 black marlin.
Jumping Black: Another one of reel captures fish screaming off
With the wild weather we've experienced so far this month, now is the optimum time to update your tackle situation and give your tackle box a good once over with hot soapy! Take advantage of the rain and spend a day in your garage giving everything inside the tackle box a clean, cull the old rusted tackle and get organised for when the weather comes good again.
Hot soapy water will remove all the salt crystals which coat everything in and outside of the box, give it a few hours to dry off to make sure all little cracks and crevices are dry before putting back your tackle. It's worth giving all the contents a good wipe down if you can as the salt will also corrode and wear away the chemically sharpened coating on hooks and swivels, plus your knife will become very obviously rusty if left unclean.
Using sharp hooks for fishing is probably one of the most important keys to catching fish. Using sharp hooks, non rusty hooks or chemically sharpened hooks is very important. This time of year it's worth sharpening your old hooks or buy good sharp new hooks. Fish within your budget and buy the best hooks you can afford. Rust will prevent a hook up by not allowing the hooks to slide through the mouth of the fish. A blunt hook tip will also minimise the chance of hook ups. If you get snagged check how sharp your tip is and run a sharpening stone over it if needed. It's well worthwhile investing in a small hook sharpening stone and keep it in your tackle box. Remember lure trebles are also important to maintain and keep sharp.
The latch on the tackle box may need a spray from a lubricant or anti-corrosive product such as Inox or WD40. This will lengthen the life of your tackle box and save you from an expensive purchase in the near future. While you have the lubricant out, touch up your reel gears and yabbie pump as both will get more use in the coming months.
Pliers are a great tackle box accompaniment for removing the hook without touching the fish. Pointy nose pliers are particularly good for hooks that have been swallowed down the fish's throat. If your pliers are stiff though - this is a great time to clean them up and lubricate with some WD40.
A well organised angler should have plenty of longshank, baitholder and pre rigged gang hooks on hand over Summer and through to Winter. Now is a good time to cull any bent, rusty or dull hooks - revamp them with a good sharpening or get some new ones! Flathead and whiting are best targeted with a long shank hook due to the shape of their mouths. Bream need baitholders as they are the kings of deception and trickery. The barbs along the shaft of the hook will hold on your prawn, squid or flesh bait well. Purchase gangs in groups of three or more to save money or at least get a box of Mustad 4200D or 4202D saltwater series hooks to make up your own gangs. Tru Turn hooks in style 711, are also very useful when rigged with black crane swivels rigged in between each hook. The swivels allow the hooks to twist and set in the fish's mouth, avoid destroying the pilchards flesh when inserting the gang hooks and help to minimise line twist.
A variety of different sinkers to allow for varying currents and waves heights as well as a couple of different strengths in monofilament and wire leader material are needed for adapting to changing fishing conditions. For those who wish to fish at night it would pay to have spare batteries for your head lamps or torch and some clip on glow in the light for your rod tips so that you can see the bites and what you're doing. Be prepared for changing fishing conditions and the worst case scenario that you losing hooks to big tailor and you should be rewarded with good fish.
So rather than getting upset with the weather - make the most of your time and before you know it, the sun will be back out and you can put your lovely clean, sharp tackle to good use snagging a serious fish! Next week we will have a look at maintaining your rod and reel over the wet period.
LOCAL FISHING REPORT
Noosa: Spanish mackerel from jew shoal and Sunshine Reef. Whiting at the mouth. Mangrove jack, tailor and trevally on poppers around Woods Bay. A few jacks around the rock wall at the mouth and between the lakes. Mud crabs between the lakes. Flathead and trevally around the entrance of Weyba Creek.
Maroochy: The odd Spotty mackerel and a few spanish mackerel just east of Old Woman Island. Dart in the gutters between Marcoola and Yaroomba. Trevally, cod and jacks int he cod hole. Whiting and grunter at Bli Bli. Sand crabs in the channel between Chambers Island and the cod hole. Mud crabs up the creeks and along the wetland stretch.
Kawana: Black marlin, dolphin fish and wahoo at the 50 meter mark out off Coolum. Spotty mackerel are feeding on the dirty water line out from Point Cartwright. Dart, bream and whiting along Kawana Beach. Golden trevally along La Balsa wall. Bream from the mooring and rock walls. Whiting from the spit. Mud crabs up Mountain Creek and in the upper Mooloolah.
Caloundra: Bream, grass sweetlip and flathead during the day, with queenfish and trevally on live bait at dawn along the boardwalk stretch. A few jacks in Bells Creek. Mud crabs from Coochin Creek south.
Ed Sweres boated these two mangrove jacks while working the trevally boils with a surface popper in the Woods Bays (supplied by www.fishingnoosa.com.au)
This is gonna take some time: a messy tackle box could cost you a fish!
Mitch Bow was flicking soft plastics around the rubble patches around Pin Cushion for a couple of yellowfin bream.
Conditions will be perfect todayand over the weekend to head offshore chasing mackerel, Andy Gunn trolled large slimy mackerel NE of Old Women Island for two spaniards up to 8kg.
Jason Armstrong was drifting with pilchards on gang with a short wire trace around Old Women Island for this 3.8kg spotty mackerel.
Noosa: Trevally and tailor between the bar and Munna Point. Plenty of Jacks in between the lakes. Flathead and whiting at the top end of the frying pan. Mud crabs in Weyba Creek and in the canals.
Maroochy: Spotty mackerel to 3.9kg from Old Women Island yesterday morning. Tarwhine to 40cm and dart on live worms along North Shore. Flathead to 55cm off Chambers Island and to 65 in Petrie Creek. Plenty of average bream and a 8.5kg jew in the cod hole. Mud crabs in the canal and along the wetland stretch.
Kawana: Spotty and Spanish mackerel around the Gneerings. Dart to 45cm, bream and Tarwhine in the wash at Kawana. Trevally and bream throughout the lower river. Bream and cod off the rock walls. Mud crabs in the Mountain Creek Reach.
Caloundra: Flathead and bream off the Boardwalk. Trevally on the dirty water mark on the making tide. Whiting along golden beach. Spotty mackerel on trolled gar from the 12 mile.