Home' Afloat : AFLOAT February 2015 Contents 50 AFLOAT.com.au February 2015
with David Lockwood
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NANNI DIESEL AUST
FISH THE STRUCTURE
Following a couple of wetter-than-usual summers, this has
to be the fishiest season for years. Everything from the marlin
we talked about last month to the most humble of fish like the
flathead has been snapping for danglers. The fish are boiling.
This writer certainly had his fishiest holiday for many years.
After 11 days straight onboard we returned with a fair stash of
groceries, especially protein in cryovac. This was due entirely to
our daily catch. Fish of the Day it was.
An electric frying pan assembled in the cockpit proved the
focal point for many a fine seafood meal as the sun set in the west
and the day was almost over. The crispy flathead fillets were the
stuff of legend and lick-smacking fingers, the fresh Hawkesbury
bream for breakfast were similarly hard to beat, then there were
the buckets of blue swimmer
crabs off the duckboard at
But at the same
time I observed the
usual holidaymakers in
houseboats and hire boats
chucking a line over the side
in hope and not much else.
There wasn’t a lot of strategy
to their fishing, I must say. Their apparent bad luck had its roots
with where they were fishing first and foremost.
This realisation struck home when we were at a favourite
bolthole in Brisbane Water for a few days on the Danforth hook.
Within a few casts, we had our first flathead, each morning
thereafter I’d zip across in the tender and pepper the drop-offs
with soft-plastic lures and snag some more flathead.
We landed blue swimmer crabs on the flathead frames
under the boat. Low tide was spent pumping nippers that were
converted into whiting at dusk. The bream were caught at other
times. Yep, that barbecue meat stash in the fridge had no chance
of seeing the light of day. We even dropped a bit of weight being
fishing active too.
But the point is this. Structure. From where we were anchored
there were at least half a dozen key fishing structures that
commanded attention. They were within a square nautical mile
of our boat. I decided to take a photo of the scene (shown above)
to illustrate the point. The holiday hopefuls are out of frame,
anchoring over in the middle of nowhere.
When you’re looking for fish, think like a fish, target the habitat,
structures, eddies, drop-offs and illuminated spots at night. This
little stretch of Brisbane Water had it all and with a bit of local
experience there was always somewhere worth wetting a line
within casting distance.
Just behind our boat was a soft mud bottom that rose to a
ribbon-weed bed. Along the edge was a happy hunting ground
for flathead using soft-plastic lures that resembled a prawn.
The soft sand bottom itself produced plenty of whiting on live
nippers. The run-out tide coincided with the hot bite here, as
the fish pulled back from the shallow water beyond.
Beyond were vast oyster leases
that fished best at the top of the tide
with poppers and shallow-diving lures
presented over the top of the racks. The
shallow mud flats in a nearby bay were
also productive fished in this way. We
scored decent whiting on lures in water
that was barely 30cm deep. Dawn and
high tide were the top whiting time.
Around the corner, as the tide
roared out some more, the main
channels commanded our attention.
More flathead could be found lying
in wait around the edges. At night, the bridge out yonder is a
known jewfish hotspot. You can catch squid in the lights here,
too. Then there is the nearby public wharf that produces plenty
of luderick as well.
Being intimate with this particular waterway meant we didn’t
have to waste time looking for a feed of fish and some entertaining
light-tackle sport. We just worked the structure and the tides and
kept under the shade in the middle of the day. The more effort
you made early in the morning the better you fared. Early nights,
early mornings frame the fisho’s life.
The take-home message this month is to fish the structure.
February is a peak time in our estuaries and near-shore reefs for
hot water and hot fishing. Work the habitat, the tides, eddies and,
one more key thing, the primary food sources.
Fish are never far from food, which is why the structure is
key. For the predators, baitfish are a key attractor. This month,
do everything in your powers including those of your electronic
fish finder, to locate the bait. As we said at the outset, everything
from marlin to flathead will be lying in wait. February always
presents exceptional fishing. h
Whiting on a lure.
Hawkesbury Bream for breakfast.
The Rip Bridge, Brisbane Water.
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