If you love to wet a line, here’s some expert tips to increase your chances of catching a feed for dinner.
Welcome to spring, warming weather and warming water brings us close to a change of season. My fingers are crossed that the totally awesome fishing continues from winter into the new season.
The winter months produced some sensation fishing. The three-month Land and Bay Fishing competition started in July, and bream took out many of the top 10 positions with lengths ranging from 39cm to a whopping 45cm.
A mixed bag of stonka flathead, dart, snapper, tailor, and bass also found their way into the top 10. A further four bream over 40cm were entered in the month of August rounding out a sensational couple of months for the bream fishos.
Whiting, whiting, whiting
In September, I start to get excited as the full moon should see Margate Beach, the closest beach to my home, come alive with whiting.
It’s best to target the whiting along the eastern beaches of the peninsula with local worms. Wigglers and rock worms can be easily-sourced at low tide from Woody Point to Scarborough. If you prefer, most of the local bait and tackle shops have a healthy supply of live worms also.
September also brings flathead into focus in both quality and quantity. I suggest you use light gear, with a fluorocarbon leader of about 12 to 16lbs, jig head weight should be between 1/6oz to 3/8oz depending on water depth and wind. My preferred soft plastic at the moment is a 3 inch, Zman Slim Swim or a 4 inch, Zman Grub.
I hope you all find a feed in September and I look forward to seeing you on the water. Fish Harder.
Dr Dazza is Dr Daryl McPhee – a leading marine scientist based at Bond University and a champion angler. He grew up at Sandgate and is the author of the books Fisheries Management in Australia and Environmental History and Ecology of Moreton Bay.
In this column, he tells us about whiting …
For inshore and beach fishers, September means whiting time. It’s when they commence their spawning period which extends through to March.
They’re a great fish for the whole family to catch and rate among our best local seafood.
There are two species historically referred to as “summer” whiting and both can be caught in Bramble Bay, Deception Bay, Pine and Caboolture Rivers, and along the Redcliffe peninsula. There is the yellowfin whiting and the sand whiting.
How to tell the difference
You can distinguish sand and yellowfin whiting by the presence of a very large prominent black spot on the base of the pectoral fins of the sand whiting that is absent from the yellowfin whiting. Yellowfin whiting are a bit stockier than sand whiting and tend to weigh more for a given size, but they do not grow as big in length. The bag limit for whiting is a combined limit for both species due to the difficulty for an untrained eye in telling the two species apart.
Whiting have well developed sense organs which can sense very small movements of prey in and on the seabed. Worms are well known as the prime bait for whiting with the Redcliffe peninsula being a prime location for the collection of rock worms, wriggler worms and blood worms. My preference for whiting bait in the area are rock worms as they are easy to get and effective. Do not discount the humble live yabby as a whiting bait, particularly for yellowfin whiting.
Sand whiting grow rapidly and most fish caught and retained are three or four years of age although, similar to all fish species, there is variation in age at length which can be substantial. Ten years of age is about the maximum age of sand whiting in Moreton Bay.
Keep it simple
When fishing for whiting keep it simple. Use a 6lb monofilament line and a very light rod. My preferred hooks are the chemically-sharpened Mustad Fine Worm or the Tru-Turn hook, both of which are commonly available. Fine Worm hooks do look brittle and are easy to bend up to a point, but they have not let me down when it has mattered.
Like a lot of fishing, sinker size is critical and you need to be thinking about whether you are using the right sinker size and keep changing it up or down, if you are not catching fish. The premise is simple, use a sinker that is suitable for reaching the fish and spending as long as possible in the area where they are, but no heavier.
Do you have a question for Dr Dazza? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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