Ian Meads with his winning Spanish mackerel at Derwent Island.
Ian Meads with his winning Spanish mackerel at Derwent Island. Contributed

Fishing wrap: Shoot-out juniors show veterans how it's done

IT WAS not the biggest fish he had caught, but it was enough for Ian Meads to reel in competition glory.

The weight master of the Mackay Game Fishing Club was nestled near Derwent Island with his brother last weekend as they sought to take out the Spanish Mackerel Shoot-Out's top prize of $1000.

His catch weighed in at 19.3kg - far from as big as he had seen, but enough to claim victory.

"We were trolling all day with varied baits. We were running ribbon fish, but it ended up being a gar we caught it on,” Mr Meads said.

"The biggest I've got was a club record of 32kg , (so) I didn't expect it to be big enough to take the comp.”

Mr Meads was pipped for the heaviest mackerel throughout the competition, with junior winner Ryan Desbois hooking a 19.54kg beauty.

All-in-all it was the most successful shoot-out in Mackay in terms of competitors. In total 117 anglers took part in the competition - 95 seniors and 22 juniors.

A host of other prizes were up for grabs, including biggest trout and nannygai or red emperor, as well as a mystery weight for Spanish mackerel.

The biggest trout went to Paul Morris with a 69cm catch, while the longest nannygai/red emperor went to Rebecca Gorjup at 70cm.

Mr Meads said the additional categories were designed to engage with the community and entice more people to enter.

Boyce Miosge, 15, with a grunter caught at Fresh Water Point.
Boyce Miosge, 15, with a grunter caught at Fresh Water Point. Contributed

He said it was the most anglers to register for the tournament in its 11 year history.

"The numbers have been steadily increasing for the last few years,” Mr Meads said.

"It's good to see a lot more people and a steady increase in interest. A lot of people from Mackay do the bottom bashing ... we're always looking for ideas to get more people involved, but the whole reason we started with Spanish was to involve the public.”

Mud crabbing

With higher tides set to stream through the Mackay region's estuaries this weekend, it should be the best time this winter to grab some high quality crabs.

The tide will peak at 4.95m at 11.43am today while weekend tides will reach their maximums just after midday.

Tackle World's Andrew Elworthy said the crabs would start to move more prolifically as the weather warmed up towards the end of winter.

He said these high tides would be ideal for mud crabbing.

"The quality is there at the moment but the quantity is not. But they are good quality crabs so it's definitely worth putting the pots in,” Mr Elworthy said.

"They tend to move a bit more on the bigger tides because the salt water pushes up into the mangroves more.

"It helps with all those mud flats that don't normally get water over them, and you can push your pots right up into the gullies.”

Creek fishing

With winds of up to 25 knots forecast for the weekend, Mr Elworthy said creek fishing would be the best bet for Mackay's anglers.

He said blue salmon and king salmon had started to school up in really good numbers; in particular the king salmon.

"Targeting king salmon, I'd be fishing places like Rocky Dam, Murray Creek and Black Rock, fishing the deeper holes and rock bars with live baits, soft vibes and soft plastics being the most productive,” Mr Elworthy said.

"King salmon is an all-year-round species but they haven't been on the move much (until now).

"For the blue salmon I'd be targeting spots like Sandy Creek, Reliance and Constant Creek. Again the same sort of baits, but they don't mind a slab bait in the shallows with the incoming tide over the sand flats.”

Bailey Wilkinson, 10, caught this Coral Trout.
Bailey Wilkinson, 10, caught this Coral Trout. Contributed

Beaches and offshore

Offshore fishing will be off limits this weekend given the strong winds anticipated. But that does not mean conditions will hinder inland anglers.

Mr Elworthy said plenty of whiting, bream and flathead could be targeted on the beaches. Areas such as Shoal Point and Seaforth Beach will provide greater protection from the strong winds, and on the high tide will produce the best results.

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