Home' Afloat : January 2014 Contents Take monthly with water January 2014 53
ON THE WATER
with David Lockwood
2014 Cruising Preparation - Seminars
Dreaming of a “Cruising Lifestyle”?
Extended Coastal or Offshore
Sydney: mid Feb.
Newcastle: late Feb.
Airlie Beach: March
Townsville: mid March
Cairns: late March
Get your boat, yourself and the crew ready
in all respect’s to go cruising
safely and having fun.
r Two day, full weekend
r 4x Intensives, Monday
& Tuesday evenings.
r 30 separate subjects.
r Designed for couples.
r Full Syllabus on-line.
r Seminar Registration
If you are like me and have an insatiable
appetite for crustaceans you better get
in quick. But forget shelling out at your
fishmonger, catch your own instead. For
according to the Australian Institute of
Marine Science, ocean acidification could
sounds the death knell for some species of
crustaceans, with the changed PH affecting
their ability to form protective hard shells.
Of course, such realities are eons away
if at all. So you have plenty of time to
sharpen your crustacean-catching skills.
With summer hitting its zenith, you are
in peak crustacean season. So heed the
following and get cracking.
The great thing
about prawns is they
have a short life cycle. So catching them
isn’t going to impact on their stocks.
Another good thing is that prawning
normally takes place at night. So think of
it as a fun extra-curriculum activity this
summer. Après dinner, don the wetsuit
and booties or sandshoes and head out.
The best prawning spots are our coastal
lakes and lagoons, especially those that
are open to the sea. This way, on the run-
out tide, the prawns swim to you and your
bright shining gas lantern or underwater
light. You can just stand there and scoop
away. Or with a drag net, haul in a feed.
Either side of the dark moon on those
run-out tides tends to be best. Wade the
edge of the channel, picking off the odd
prawn sleeping on the sandflats. Then
along the edge of channel, where the water
is flowing, you should find the prawns on
A wetsuit helps when potentially
painful fortescues, jellyfish, eels and crabs
are being washed out with the prawns.
Even the spiky head of a prawn banging
against your bare leg isn’t pleasant. Other
species to scoop include garfish, mullet
and the occasional blue swimmer.
By far the majority of prawns taken by
anglers are the Eastern king prawn. School
prawns make up the balance of the catch.
On a good night, with the permitted one
handheld scoop net, you can easily land
a few kilos.
A scoop net has a minimum 20mm
mesh. Use a drag net and that mesh size
increases to 30mm. But when decent kings
are running, it’s the way to go. Scissor or
push nets are also permitted and work well
in areas with little flow where the prawns
are laying low.
A word of warning: prawn pirates are
known to do the rounds at holiday time.
Those who leave their prawns ashore while
heading out for another shot might return
to find the bucket is empty.
Get the whole family involved, it’s great
fun, and appoint a prawn minder.
Bag limit: 10 litres of prawns per
person. Cook in salty water and eat chilled
the next bleary-eyed day with a cold beer.
common blue swimmer
and prized mud crabs
is synonymous with
summer holidays on
the coast. Just about anyone can do it.
All you need are the permitted five hoop
nets per person for the swimmers and
one of the robust traps per person for the
muddies. A spool of nylon cord to extend
the droppers and an empty milk bottle or
float per net and trap with your details are
The regulations state the following:
a float/ buoy to be labelled with HN and
the name and address of the person who
either sets, uses or lifts the fishing gear.
The minimum height of the float being
at least 50mm above the water with all
letters to be a minimum of 15mm and in
a colour contrasting to the buoy. The float/
buoy must measure not less than 100mm
in all dimensions.
Fishy bait such as mullet, tailor and
tuna works well for crabs. Setting the traps
in 3-5 metres of water over sand or mud
produces the most blue swimmers for me.
However, the muddies prefer the upper
estuarine areas and small creek mouths
where deep water fronts mangroves,
sunken logs and other structure. That said,
muddies go walkabout after decent rains.
An overnight set behind the boat, with
a midnight check, produces even more
crabs. Detangle, let sleep in the fridge,
then cook in salted water, crack and dig in.
Bag limit: 20 blue swimmers and five
muddies per person. And watch the pirates
who pilfer your nets.
LOBSTERS AND CRAYS
The laws have
been tightened in
recent years due to
black-market shamateurs. Still, with the
permitted one trap per person and two-
lobster limit per day per person, you can
secure a feed for the family. You just need
to know where to set your traps. In caves
and potholes surrounded by kelp along
the rock platforms is the place. Diving
your traps in might help.
Bait them with fish, a lamb or ham
bone, and check at low tide the next day.
I remember January school holidays on
the South Coast, opening the door to the
old Kelvinator, and being confronted with
racks of bright orange lobsters. We never
got sick of them. Between the prawning,
crabbing and checking of lobster pots, our
holidays were full in more ways than one. h
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