Product Reviews

View the latest product reviews.

Local Boat Ramps

Information on the quality and location of local Boat Ramp facilities. Includes photographs, maps and some video content.

Family orientated

Promoting family fishing.

Fish for the future promotes catch and release fishing.

Great Fishing Locations

Popular fishing spots including GPS locations, sounder shots and maps.

Regular fishing reports

Regular fishing reports from our fishing trips.

Product Reviews

View the latest Product Reviews.

Fly Fishing

Chasing Golden Trevalley on the Magnetic Island flats.


Enjoying one of the many beautiful beaches of Magnetic Island.

Friday 11 July 2014

Mid Week Fishing

Oh yeah, I love it when the weather is down mid-week during the school holidays! It doesn't happen very often, but when it does I get very excited. And Wednesday was just that day! Winds were predicted to be light all day, and I had big plans! Whenever I write a report for this website, I like to talk a little about how and why I plan the day I do. It often revolves around the wind and tide, and where I think I will find a fish AND be able to comfortably fish at that time. So for Wednesday my plan was to run the boat directly to the Mackerel Patches off Cape Cleavelend to chase some Spanish Mackerel at first light, and then head wide to the Norther Marlin Grounds and troll for a Billfish for the remainder of the day. This should fit with the lighter winds early, and then dropping for the remainder of the day. It would hopefully let us put a few fish in the eski early before looking for that elusive Billie. We also had a kids dental appointment at 3.15pm so had to be back at the ramp early.

Knowing that mid-week half of the Coast Guard ramp would be full of single cars going on the ferry (trailer parking only applies on weekends), and the fact that more than a few sickies would be called in, we headed to the Ross River ramp to launch at about 5am. This is a little earlier than I would normally put in, but I wanted to be on location at the Mackerel Patches when the sun came up. We ran across the bay comfortably with a slight 5knots breeze over our shoulder. We cleared the cape and slight wind chop soon slowed us down a little. But knowing the wind was predicted to drop out we continued comfortably to our destination. On arrival at the Mack Patches it has almost glassed out. At least 8 other boats were already in the vicinity trolling and it didn't take long for us to sound up a good patch of fish. The fish were so thick we could see them in their thousands over the side of the boat.

But within minutes of arriving, the wind that had hampered us on the way out reached us and began chopping up the water. But we persisted and sent down some metal slices. Unfortunately the school of fish showing so well on the sounder was only Trevally. And we could have caught them one after the other! Tania and the kids had a bit of fun, but it was not what we had come this far for.

As the morning progressed the wind just built more and more. Eventually we were taking the odd wave over the bow of the boat as the Minn Kota iPilot worked to keep us over the school of fish. It was just to uncomfortable. By about 8.30am we decided enough was enough. It just wasn't worth smashing ourselves about in this swell when we were not even getting the Mackerel we had came for. So we decided to make the very uncomfortable run back to the Cape and protection form the Southerly breeze.

Fortunately the hull of the Haines 485sf is incredible through wind chop. And despite extremely sloppy conditions and a very wet ride for my passengers, we were able to maintain 15-17knots all the way back. Once inside the Cape the water completely glassed out. Opening the throttle to 30knots we raced to a Weedbed mark off long beach.

Conditions were stunning. A beautiful runout tide, cold clean water and glass conditions. Perfect for Doggie Mackerel. Normally when fishing the Weedbeds I would anchor up and get a burley trail going. But stuff that!!! Down when the iPilot electric and I hit 'spotlock' to hold us in place. Luckily I had picked up a block of Pillies the day before from The Fishing Warehouse. I normally wouldn't have bait on board, but Tania wanted some to fish for Nannygai if we got out wider. So we started a burley trail and sent out a couple of pillies on gang hooks. By the time we got all set up it was almost 10am. And despite the good water conditions, I wasn't holding out to much hope for fish this late in the morning. But it didn't take long and one of the rods sitting in the rod holder gave an almighty bounce. Pulled it in and the bait was gone. Mackerel.... Out it went again and it didn't take long and we were hooking up in the Mackerel one after the other. And they were good solid Doggies to. Just one wend under size and the rest were in the mid to high 60's. Fish that go straight in the eski, not on the tape!

The technique we used was very simple. The boat is 'anchored' in position and a steady burley trail sent out the back. Two rods are set up with gang hooks to float pilchards. The gang hooks are completely un-weighted and have no wire. They are not under floats either. Just braid, mono leader and gang hooks. The pillies are cast a good distance at 90 degrees out the sides of the boat. The tide carries these down the side of the boat and out the back where the burley trail is. When the baits reach the back of the boat they are VERY slowly wound back in. Tania and the boys were using these rods, and at the same time I was throwing a Threadybuster directly out the back of the boat between the other two lines, and work it back through the burley trail. I would not normally work a lure like this against the tide, but in this situation it was always going to work. The Threadybuster had a short length of single strand wire, maybe 2in in length. This just prevents the bite off of a very expensive lure should it be completely inhaled. More strikes would come if no wire was used, but thats a big risk. I don't mind loosing the odd gang hook, but not a $25 lure!

I lost count of how many we caught for the morning. But it was at lease 10 and more likely a dozen. I had forgotten Ice at the servo that morning, so the fish were filleted and put into the car fridge. So I never did a proper count.

By lunchtime the tide and bite had well and truly died. We switched to a troll of some lures to see if we could locate a patch of feeding fish, but it was all over for the day. We headed home and back to the ramp.