The winter weather has been really cold this year but fortunately the fishing has been just the opposite, with the run of bream in the rivers on the Gold Coast being one of the best in many years. The fish have been stacked up around the river mouths and lure and bait fisherman have been enjoying some good sessions. The other winter culprits have been around in good numbers with trevally, tailor and blackfish making up the majority of the rest of the catches. The end of winter leading into spring is a great time to be out on the water as long as you have a thick beanie and a lekker koppie “moer” koffee to keep the cold away.
Tournament fishing is becoming a big thing in Australia and your local correspondent has been trying to keep the SA flag flying by competing in a few of them. I could probably say I have been doing better than average but my wife would probably disagree. Jokes aside we had a whole bunch of the fishos that participated in the Tweed round of the Bream qualifying events over at our Mikes Kitchen in Coolangatta and showed them exactly what South African Cuisine is all about. The guys got stuck into the ribs with gusto and had a great night. I was just sorry we didn’t have a bit of ‘pap and wors’ to give them some extra energy for the next days fishing.
The soft plastic revolution is marching on in Australia with more and more bait fisherman turning to the dark side and starting to fish with lures. It is an interesting debate as to which is better. I believe that both will probably out-fish the other when used in the right situation, so I try to steer clear of the arguments that usually ensue when the question pops up. The bream have been quite happy to eat either lures or bait. Good baits to try when targeting bream are pilchards, herring and yabbies (pink prawns). Chicken gut, or chook gut, as it is called here is another top bait but I just can’t see myself threading it on a hook. I wouldn’t have had a problem hooking a Plattie on for a barble at Harties but at some stage you have to draw the line.
The stand out plastics have been the Atomic ‘prongs’ in 3 inch as well as the Berkley Gulp range. The Japanese market is starting to make its presence felt in Australia and the ranges of little hardbody lures that are making their way onto our tackle store shelves is amazing. The finish, not to mention the price, is truly unbelievable. Little vibration lures fished the same way you would fish a plastic have been bringing excellent results, often out-fishing the plastics.
I have finally bitten the bullet and decided to upgrade my boat. It is a bit of a secret at the moment because it is one of the first of this type of boat to come out of the factory, but I am pretty excited about it and will keep you posted as to when it is finished. I will definitely have a brag photo in one of the next issues.
An interesting point that I wanted to broach is the luck factor in fishing. How often does it happen that you take a friend, or in my case my lovely wife, fishing for the first time and they catch a bigger fish than you.
We had shut up the restaurant and I had convinced Yolanda to go with me for a drive on the river to de-stress after a very busy week. She agreed and we were soon on the Tweed River trolling one of my favourite spots for Mangrove Jack. First pass I hooked a good fish and after a vicious fight I had the Jack netted and lying on the floor of my tinny. I was jumping up and down trying to explain to my wife that this was my biggest Jack ever. It probably lost something in the translation from fishing jargon to normal people’s language but I definitely did not get the reaction I was expecting from my wife, and after releasing the 58cm fish we started the troll again. I gave the rod and lure combo to Yolanda for the next pass to up her odds. The thought that she would outdo my capture in a few minutes did not cross my mind. On the next troll she hooked up and the words of doom still ring in my ears. “See Roddy, yours wasn’t so big, mine is much bigger!!!” Talk about deflating someone’s ego. Well it was actually a bigger Mangrove Jack than I have ever caught to date, even though I spent countless summer nights on the river trying to outdo my better half. The fish was a beautiful Jack that measured 60cm - truly a trophy class fish in the rivers of South East Queensland. As they say - that’s fishing and I will probably take my wife fishing with me again one day, just not this weekend or the next.
If you are ever in Coolangatta and find yourself with a few minutes of spare time or feel like a taste of home then pop in to my restaurant. I have always got time for a chat and there isn’t a better subject to talk about than fishing.
Catch ya on the water