This month’s story will be about fishing the reefs out from 1770.
Every so often when the weather’s good we plan a three day trip to 1770 to head out to Fitzroy Reef. When doing these trips it takes lots of planning and the only way to do it is to write a list of what you need and then go through it and check everything off as you do it. The typical list would cover safety equipment, food, water, bait, rods, clothes, rags and so on. By doing a list you will not overload the boat with unnecessary items and, most importantly, you wont forget anything.
Before you set off on your trip, it is good to get the boat set up and checked, ensuring everything is working properly. It is important to make sure all the lights are working correctly and you have some spare fuses, bulbs and tape etc. When all the safety gear and boat is up to scratch, you can start getting all you’re fishing gear together.
It’s always good to check and make sure you have the right fishing gear because when you’re out there catching fish you don’t want any of your gear not working on you. Likewise, make sure you have got the right amount of food and water to last you as well. And don’t forget to check the trailer and do the bearings.
We like to take it easy when going up and it usually takes us eight hours to leave Bribie and get out to Fitzroy Reef. But out there is when all the fun begins.
When we get to our first mark we sound around and look for the fish. Once we found the fish we have a quick drift to see which way the currents going and then we prefer to anchor. Once anchored it’s always good to get the berley going because the fish might be there but not feeding, and if there’s a bit of berley out in the water it might entice them to feed.
The way we like to fish these reefs is bottom bashing with a paternoster rig and floating down pilchards with as less weight as possible. We usually have a few reels to try with these techniques, some have braid and some have mono. Dad usually prefers the braid and so do I but Jaret does well on the mono, so it’s really personal choice.
It is important to use nice strong sharp hooks and when fishing for red emperor only use one hook because if another fish hits it when you have one hooked up you usually end up losing both.
The main fish we target when up there are red emperor, trout and sweetlip but while targeting these species you always catch other fish like hussar, iodine bream, Chinaman fish, trigger fish, grinners and, unfortunately, the odd shark.
Once you have fished one spot, and pulled some good fish off of it, it’s always a good idea to move. This is because most of the time you only have to move 100m to be on the fish again and on one spot you can catch eight or so fish, which is enough to take from one area. Occasionally we’ll also throw some poppers around hoping for a trout or trevally.
During the middle of the day we go up into the shallows and have a snorkel and some lunch so it gives us a break from fishing.
There is a lot of work in preparing and driving up there but it’s definitely worth it all once you are out there catching some good quality eating fish that you don’t catch in our local area.
So maybe you could save up a few trips locally and turn them into a trip out to the Barrier Reef for a change.