A day in southeast Queensland paradise

ALARMS were going and so were we. It was an early morning start for the Bats crew (the name I give to my family fishing group), leaving Brisbane at 12.30am. The plan of attack was to fish what we call southeast Queensland paradise, also known as the Barwon Banks.

We arrived at Mooloolaba at 2am to a 10-knot easterly wind and 1.5m swell. We travelled out to the northern banks to chase pearl perch and snapper, then slowly worked our way to the southern banks for amberjack. The lumpy easterly swell didn’t make for the smoothest ride out.

Arriving at our first spot just before 4am, we were able to sound around and find the fish almost immediately in the 65m depth range. Using the Furuno 587 really made our lives easy with its accurate readings. Before long Angelo’s rod was doing backflips and he pulled up a solid pearl perch at 54cm on a single-hook paternoster rig with ELKAT 7/0 pink flies.

A few seconds later, our old man Dimitri was on. Dimitri was fishing a double paternoster with the same flies and using a Daiwa TB 1000 electric reel. The only difference to Angelo’s result was he pulled up two pearlies instead of one. One measured 58cm and the other 63cm.

On the same drift a little farther down we noticed a large school of what we believed to be jobfish on the sounder. We made this assumption because of the way the school was hanging 10m off the bottom. So I decided to float down a whole pillie on a snelled rig with two 6/0 white ELKAT flies while Peter thought it would be a good idea to micro jig through the school.

Peter got the first hit in no time at all. As his fish was approaching the boat my reel started peeling line.
We were both on! Peter got his up first and it was exactly what we thought it would be: a solid rosy jobfish. After a solid fight with my fish I finally saw colour and managed to pull up a cracker green jobfish.

These fish put up a great fight for their size. Not long after, the taxman appeared and thought it would be a good idea to bring his friends along. Every single fish we hooked after that got sharked. There is nothing more frustrating than losing quality fish to sharks.

So we decided it was time to make our way down to the southern Barwon Banks. On our way south we came across some good ground and tried plucking fish off it but didn’t have any luck. Finally we arrived at our 40m mark but saw no sign of any amberjack.

Angelo dropped down a whole squid and got a beautiful parrotfish. For the next hour we were on the hunt for amberjack but couldn’t find any shows on the sounder so moved further south to a mark in 110m of water. This spot has held amberjack and kingies in the past and is simply a little bommie in the middle of nowhere that occasionally holds bait.

The four of us tried different techniques to see what would work best. Peter was using an ELKAT Reef Chief 100g jig, Dimitri was sticking to his double paternoster, Angelo tied on a 200g knife jig and I was float lining a 9/0 fly with a pillie. It wasn’t long before Peter’s reel was screaming for help.

He had hooked up to a fairly decent size amberjack. Amberjack and kingfish are quite similar and when they know they’ve been hooked they want to go straight back home, which makes bottom fishing for them quite interesting.
The first 10m of the fight is critical. Peter was fishing a locked drag and the reel was still letting line go.
With a lot of hard work he pulled up what we were after.

So we all turned to Reef Chiefs and before long were hooking up. Unfortunately the taxman returned and we were losing far too much gear. By this time it was midday, so we decided to make our way in with the easterly swell.
We were back in the harbor in 50 minutes with a good feed for the family and a few stories to tell.

Overall it was a successful day on the Banks.






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