12 minute video showing extended footage from all 3 kingfish captures. The area has since been heavily netted by pro's so the kingfish have either been captured or have buggered off somewhere else. No bait = no fish.
Just think how awesome the coast flats fishery could be if they removed all netting from the broadwater.
Some of the the first part was shown in the first kingfish flats video I posted, skip to 6.48 if you want to see the other 2 fish.
This picture was taken yesterday at around 11am, about 2 minutes before these professional fisherman(and I use the word professional with a great deal of contempt.. there's nothing professional about ripping the guts out of fisheries) ran their net around the entire northern wavebreak weed bed. Once they were finished we went over, and tried for a pike and got zip, not even a touch.
The fish that weren't caught, would have left the area immediately and it takes weeks for them to return. This is from Lindsay on Ausfish and is worth reading.
"What happens is - when a net is shot around a school of mullet, tailor, bream, goldens, whiting, dart ..... any fish that can drum muscles against their swim bladder and produce a vocalisation, which we haven't found any that don't yet ..... the fish emit what is known as a 'distress signal' or 'alarm signal'. Other fish nearby of any species that has a history of being netted, relay this signal on and so on & so on and this is known as 'secondary transmission'. This is an evolutionary trait in many marine and terrestrial animals and improves survival prospects of these species.
These fish move away from the source of the distress and this is known as 'net avoidance'. What is known as 'area abandonment' occurs, whereby the fish tend to stay away from that area for a period documented, and observed countless times here and elsewhere for a period of between 1 and 2 weeks. The fish then begin to move back into the abandoned area and the pros, knowing that it'll be between 1 and 2 weeks before they can find fish there again, shoot the nets again and the process repeats itself. The length and volume of the area abandonment has many variables - depends on species and age of the netted fish and the size of the haul. A netted school of greenback tailor of say 4 tonnes will cause a far more severe area abandonment than would a haul of 1 tonne of small dart for example.
These guys pictured get around a bit, and they have no respect for the fish or other fisherman. I've heard about them netting entire schools of tailor that were busting up, while anglers were catching them. They don't just target one weedbed either, I've seen them netting most of the weedbeds in the broadwater. Sooner or later these guys are going to piss off someone with a bad attitude, and there will be blood in the water... and it won't be fish blood.
I think its time that the broadwater and associated rivers were treated as a recreational fishing haven like they have in NSW, but of course that would require a government or council that actually cared about the fishery and its obvious ours don't other than locking up huge areas as green zones.
Went out for a quick fish on Saturday, my only goal for the day was to get some of the GT's that I missed out on Wednesday, no livebaiting, no messing around at the ends of the walls. There have also been reports of Salmon and Kingfish mixing it up with them as well . On the water around 5am, I figured I had a while to wait as they haven't been coming on the bite until the tide was well through the run in. Low tide was at around 7.30 and I saw the first signs of fish activity at around 8am. The first fish up were ignoring lures and I think they were queenfish anyway. I waited a bit longer and noticed the birds taking off from the shore in big numbers, I followed them and they led me to the GT's feeding just north of the northern wavebreak wall. First cast and I was hooked up, not a big one but a reasonable fish around 50cm. They were not feeding all the time, but every 10 or 15 minutes a school popped up, you had about 20-30 seconds to get your lure in there before they sounded. I fished until 10.30am, landed 2 more around the same size, lost 3 and had 2 cutoffs, must of been some big tailor amongst them. Of course being the weekend I was not alone and there were about 6 or 7 other boats chasing them, but everyone was courteous and well behaved which was good to see. Good fun anyway, chasing surface feeding fish is my favourite type of fishing. Twisties worked okay but the 25gram Gillies Baitfish was better.
There is tons of bait holding near the cardinal mark in front of wavebreak and just north of the north wavebreak wall at the moment, which is what the GT's are feeding on. Lets hope that it stays around for a while.
Tide : BOM: Low tide at 02.47 am, High tide at 08.33am ( 0.14-1.24)
Time Fished: 02.00am to 09.30am
Moon Phase: 1 days after the full moon.
Water Temp 21.3-22.3 Degrees C
Sunny, lots of hardyheads in the broadwater. Schools of GT's feeding close to wavebreak, and in the channel leading to Crab Is. Moon showing all night.
Today I wanted to test the viability of hardyheads as a livie replacement for pike so we spent some time castnetting them in the shallows, that took a while because they were quite spread out and we only managed one or two every few throws. Once we had 30 or so in the livewell, we moved into the seaway for a fish. the moon was up and in full bloom and my experience is that the fish in the seaway just don't feed when that happens. Today was no exception and even the hardys were ignored so we moved back into the broadwater to try and get some pike around the bridges and jetties. That plan didn't work either, all we managed was some small tailor(which went back). We moved back into the seaway for dawn.
We found some fish occasionally busting up on the north wall flats which were Queenfish between 35 & 40cm. We caught 4 of those and lost a few others and managed a couple of tailor in mid 40's all on 20gram twisties. They went off the bite and we moved back into the seaway. Occasionally schools of GT's were popping up and busting into schools of Hardyheads, but not for long and we were just that little bit too late every time. Some of the fly guys who were close when the schools popped up got a couple of nice fish though. We did get a couple of bigeyes at the junction close to Crab Is. Once they quieted we moved off to try and get a few pike and we managed 4 before we had to leave to catch the top of the tide.
Back at the seaway for the top of the tide, we used a mix of hardys and pike to see how they compared. The pike were eaten pretty much instantly but the hardys took quite a while to get eaten and hookups were difficult. We managed a couple of undersize jewies between 60 & 65cm and a couple of mid 40's tailor. I did get smashed by something big that took me straight back into the rocks and shredded the leader. While we were drifting around I saw a big prawn free swimming on the surface and scooped him up in the environet. I put him straight down and he was eaten in about 10 seconds, by another jewie about 60cm. By now the wind had picked up, so we used the last of the hardys and called it a day.
So a few different fish caught today, hardys are obviously not a good replacement for pike or yellowtail/slimies on the north wall but I'll be looking at using them in other areas in the future. Plenty of fish feeding on the surface today but you had to be in the right place to get them.
Might kick off my first post with a bit of a profile on Hairtail.
These grow to around 2400mm and around 6kgs and although they're not the greatest fighter they are beautiful yet mean, they release well if handled carefully, eat well if your so inclined (scrub the scales off with a scrubbing brush then fillet) and offer a bit of variety to your catch.
They'll usually move in with the winter bait schools (Sprats and Hardyheads) in late April and hang around till the water warms up again around Oct-Nov.
This species is quite often encountered by bait fishermen in the Broadwater but relatively rarely landed as they will make short work of any mono that even goes near their mouth.
The best methods of capture are either lure or bait, for bait fishing the ideal rig is a single Occy hook of around 2/0 on a short length of 27lb single stand wire (100-150mm) and either a s/s ring or #8 black swivel for attaching the main line. Anchoring and burleying is important in bringing the fish to you and will quite often result in fish flashing through your burley trail right at the stern, a good stern light is also a great help in bringing the bait fish to your boat wich in turn will bring in the Hairtail. For baits I prefer a small cube or strip of flesh or a whole Hardyhead which is floated unweighted down the burley trail or if there's no current cast out and allowed to slowly sink.
Lure fishing for Hairtail is very simply a matter of slow trolling (around 2 knots water speed) a suitable lure through their regular haunts, highly reflective lures give the best results at night (when they're most active), I prefer the Rapala Xraps but there are plenty of others out there, look for shallow running lures around 100mm, smaller lures are ok as well but should be run on wire unless your rich, deeper running lures are better when there's still a bit of sun on the water, troll your lures about 30-40 meters back. Fly fishing will take them as well and works best when anchored and burleying, small white deceivers on a short length of wire fished on 6-7 weight sink tip and 3-4kg tippet is ample. You can also site cast in these situations so it pays to have a bit of an arsenal rigged ready to go, just keep in mind that Hairtail are a surface feeder though they rarely break the surface so poppers and sliders (stickbaits) are less effective.
Hunting them down is not that difficult once you learn their habits, they will travel with the currents and follow the bait schools up and down the Broadwater but prefer to feed in areas where they can sit out of the current and wait in ambush. A sounder is a must in locating the bait, from there you look for areas that may form an eddie such as canal entrances, corners, bends, drop offs and holes (you may as well troll while ya looking) a good starting point is the Seaworld basin.
Landing Hairtail is an art form all on its own, they have reverse gear and are long so netting is very difficult, they are light and thin for their size so gaffing is hard and definitely out if your planning on releasing the fish, so this is where it gets interesting, I go for the grab behind the head, just like snake handling, it's not that hard but you need to be committed and don't forget they swim backwards, good luck with that one ; ).
Lastly it should be noted that all the above techniques will take good Tailor at this time of year (and often the bigger ones), I've also taken Jacks, Mulloway, Bream, Cod etc with these techniques and they're not complicated or fancy, great rigs for the novice who'd like a shot at some decent fish.
Tide : BOM: Low tide at 10.32 am, High tide at 04.07am ( 0.17-1.44)
Time Fished: 01.00am to 08.30am
Moon Phase: 4 days before the full moon.
Water Temp 22.3-22.9 Degrees C
Sunny, lots of hardyheads in the broadwater. Small swell, scattered schools of tuna offshore but very flighty.
Started off by catching a few livies, we ended up with 1 pike plus some herring and hardyheads. Once that was done we headed into the seaway and had a look around, the usual spots were barren so we looked at a couple of new areas. In one of these spots we found some Tarpon that were hungry. I landed one that went 53cm then we proceeded to lose the next 15 or so fish for a variety of reasons. They were really really acrobatic this time with the 60cm + fish getting well over a metre in the air, one fish even jumped right over the front of the boat from one side to the other, awesome but frustrating. Many were lost in the final stages of the fight as they jumped right next to the boat. Jigheads were bent and straightened(3/0 Heavy), snap clips were mangled(but still held together) and 30lb traces were worn through. Easily some of the most brutal tarpon fishing I've ever experienced. Interesting behaviour today too with many fish just nudging the lures and holding them tentatively rather than smashing them hard. I landed two more at 64cm and 62cm before the tide slowed so only 3 fish landed for over 20 hookups. I was trying some new colours in the ecogear grass minnows, while all colours got fish, Albino Kisu (pearl blue silver)was the standout colour for the morning.
Once the tide slowed we switched to livies, I used the pike while dad used herring. Dad dropped a fish straight up and I had 2 runs which failed to hookup, probably jewies going by the teeth marks in the bait. I put the now very sad looking pike back down and he got swallowed by something with alot of weight that took off in a big run, unfortunately the line went limp after about 100m. I wound in and found the wire had been bitten through, big shark probably. We had no more interest after that so we switched to lures as the sky lightened. Lures yielded nothing so we headed offshore to look for tuna and get some more livies. Tuna were scattered and impossible to get close to but we did get some yellowtail for livies. We headed back to the seaway and did a few drifts, did hook one fish but lost it halfway up.
We moved into the broadwater as I wanted to have a look around, found some big schools of hardyheads(they'll be useful later on) but not much else. Called it a day at 8.30am.
Only 3 fish landed for the morning, we did hook alot more but for one reason or another they all got away, but that's fishing for you. The tides are favouring the weekend fishos at the moment, with the full moon on tuesday and the top of the tide just after dawn on sat/sun, expect the seaway to fish well this weekend.
With autumn coming to an end and cooling water temperatures its time to start thinking about how the seaway changes in winter and what fish to target from June to August. Cold water temps usually mean the fish are less active and hold closer to the bottom. Theres less surface feeding and the range of species changes slightly.
Bigeye catches have decreased over the last couple of months and while there might be a late burst this month from June until september will only be seen sporadically. GT's should hang around in big schools until July but then will only be caught rarely until next January. Tailor should be a more regular catch but most will be caught on the bottom with only the occasional fish caught on the flats or around the edges. Mulloway numbers should increase and hopefully we'll see some larger specimens come through this year. I think we've all caught enough 50-65cm specimens to last a lifetime. Luderick numbers should increase and there will be a few incidental catches on lures around the edges. Queenfish may make an appearance but they have been rare in previous years. Bream numbers will increase and make a nuisance of themselves with people using small livies. Offshore, mackerel will disappear but mack tuna will show up on the surface from time to time, usually only smaller specimens though. The larger tuna are usually only caught on livebaits over the reefs during winter. Tarpon should still be around but based on what I learn't last year they will be holding deeper in the water column, instead of 2-5 metres down they'll be holding anywhere from 8-12 metres down.
Weatherwise we should see more westerlies calming weather conditions and weeks of flat calm seas. The water can also be very clear during these times with the bottom visible in 10 metres of water, when this happens the seaway only fishes well at night or dawn/dusk. The dreaded phosphorescence will make an appearance more regularly which will make the seaway unfishable at night, the only thing to do when that happens is to move further into the broadwater until dawn.
Lures that worked really well last year were the zipbaits vib 80-25g, the ZBL popper, Gulp 3" minnow, Ecogear grass minnow M and 40g Raiders also pulled a few fish. I wasn't livebaiting last year but did so a few years ago during winter and pike and yellowtail yielded the usual jewies and tailor. I'll expect a few GT's this year as well.
Pike numbers have thinned out over the last month and too much time has been wasted trying to catch them so I'll be looking at other species as viable livie replacements; Garfish, Herring, Hardyheads and Squid. I'll be trialling some new methods of fishing livies over the next few months. If they are successful I'll do a write up about them.
WIND 8 KNOTS SSW. I ARRIVED AT THE SEAWAY LATE AT 5.30AM. I HAD CAR TROUBLE . WENT TO THE FLATS FIRST THEN THE DROP OFF AND TO THE EDDY. WITH NO ACTION AT ALL. I FISHED WITH PLASTICS AND POPPERS. THEN USED 20 GRAM SLUGS WITH NO LUCK ALSO . I SAW A GENT CATCH A SMALL BIG EYE ON A LIVEY. PITY I ARRIVED TO LATE TO CATCH ANY PIKE TO USE FOR MYSELF. I THEN TRIED THE PIPE AT HIGH TIDE WITH PLASTICS AND VIBES AND SLUGS WITH NO LUCK EITHER . I LEFT THE SEAWAY AT 9AM . AND EVEN TRIED MY BACK UP FISH GAR!!, NO LUCK AT ALL ,TO MUCH WIND I WAS BLOWING SE 15KNTS BY THEN. . I LEFT THE BROADWATER AT 12PM EMPTY. THATS THE WAY IT GOES. P.S. THE WATER POLICE WERE EVERY WHERE. CHECKING SAFTEY COMPLIANCE STICKERS, LIVEJACKETS AND BOAT REGO NUMBER HEIGHTS .IT IS A $200 DOLLAR FINE IF THEY ARE TO SMALL. HE GAVE ME A WARNING THANK CHRIST !! MINE WERE 12CM. THERE ARE TO BE 20CM MIN .,I DIDNT REALISE THIS...REGARDS. ROB T
On the water at 1.30 am, Jonno and myself spent ages looking around and trying to tempt fish in a number of locations but the fish all had lockjaw. Plenty on the sounder but none that were eating anything. Managed 1 pike before sunup and put him out as a floater at dawn. He was taken by a 50cm Tailor. Lures yielded nothing around the walls so we headed offshore to try and get some more livies. Unfortunately they weren't interested either and we moved around a bit finally finding a few around the scottish prince. Jonno picked up a school mackerel at 58cm jigging a chrome slug right over the wreck. We chased some skittish schools of tuna around after that but they were only coming up for a couple of hits then going back down..very difficult. We moved back into the broadwater to try and get some pike but they were uncooperative as well and we only managed a couple. We moved back into the seaway at the top of the tide, tried a couple of drifts but that yielded nothing. Noone else was catching anything either and there was about 7 boats fishing the area at that time. We called it a day just after 9am.
A difficult morning's fishing, the fish just weren't interested in anything we threw at them. No shortage of fish on the sounder in alot of locations but not actively feeding. Water temps continuing to fall, between 22.7 & 23.4 Degrees.
One item of terminal tackle that was missing from my Tried and Trusted Terminal Tackle article was wire. I've been using surecatch multistrand wire but I have not been happy with it, theres been a couple of unexplained failures that have cost fish which is unacceptable(and typical of surecatch quality). Unfortunately there hasn't been much around to replace it with. About 6 or 7 years ago I bought some Bleeding Leader Wire which is a 7 strand stainless steel wire coated with blood red nylon. I still had some full wire traces left made with this wire when I began livebaiting this year. In fact I used one of these traces on the 2 metre whaler shark I brought to the boat in February. I have managed to find a supply of this wire in Australia from Bluewater. $7.99 for 9.2m of 20kg. I'll be testing this wire over the next couple of months to see how it goes. I'm pretty sure it will be up to the task though, it ties a great knot and theres no distorting of the wire when you tighten the knot unlike the surecatch wire. Also I need to know whether the red colour puts the fish off or not, while it shouldn't you don't know until you try it. If it works as expected you should see some fish with bright red wire traces coming out of their mouths soon.