If you love to wet a line, here’s some expert tips to increase your chances of catching a feed for dinner. Summer species are on the move and so are venomous and poisonous fish.
G’day folks, we have definitely moved away from the cooler months, bringing the summer species into the forefront.
There have been reports of a few small mackerel schooling up and being caught just east of North Reef, Scarborough. The heat and increasing humidity have enticed one or two Mangrove Jacks out from winter hibernation, they are becoming a little more active. Flathead are in full swing and the Summer Whiting numbers are on the increase.
The incredibly busy mouth of the Brisbane River that gives access to Moreton Bay and the shipping channel has always been a popular fishing location. My favourite targets between the mouth and the Gateway Bridge are Threadfin Salmon, Jew and Snapper. This is the time of year that all three can be targeted inside the river mouth.
A session at the mouth of Brisbane starts with cast-netting for live bait. After putting a few live herring, mullet or prawns into the live bait tank I head for the edges of the river using the electric motor to hold me where the shallow banks meet the 15m lines. I make sure I stay the regulated distance from the port structure.
For Threadfin and Jew, the gear I use is a medium-weight Okuma LRF rod paired with an Okuma Epixor 40. The Epixor is spooled with 12lb braid down to a 1m, 40lb trace. I use a size 10 ball sinker above the trace and a single size 6/0 live bait hook will hold the live bait.
This rig is dropped directly down under the tinny. When I feel the ball sinker hit the bottom, I retrieve my line 1.5m, leaving the live bait about 0.5m from the bottom. The drag setting is critical. It needs to be set very light, so the target species can make its initial run without knowing you’re watching. When the target species stops, you will need to adjust your spool back to a normal drag setting. On the second run, you set the hook and it’s game on.
The Snapper gear is the same as above, but the rig is different as is the method of fishing for them. The rig is a simple one, 12lb braid to a 20lb leader with no weight at all. The method is called float lining and is also very simple. Use your electric motor to spot lock, up current from structure, drop the live bait in, release line from your spool and allow it to swim down with the current towards the structure. Snapper can be active anywhere in the water column, so be ready for the take.
Tight lines, fish harder and see you on the water.
Moreton Bay is home to several venomous and poisonous fish, but venomous and poisonous animals are different.
To be classified as venomous, an animal must not only secrete a toxin from specialised secretory glands or cells, but also possess some form of specialised delivery apparatus (venom apparatus). In the environment, venoms and venom apparatus can be used in offence (to capture prey) and in defence (prevent being prey).
One of the best-known groups of venomous fishes is the Family Scorpaenidae which includes the estuarine stonefish (Synanceia horrida). Stonefish are recognised as the most dangerous venomous fish in the world causing intense pain, respiratory weakness, and damage to the cardiovascular system sufficient to cause cardiac arrest in some people. Deaths have occurred, although fortunately, very rarely. Other common scorpaenid fish in Moreton Bay region are the fortesque, a tiny fish common in seagrass beds and the bullrout or freshwater stonefish which has been described as “spectacularly painful” by those unlucky enough to be envenomated.
Most members of the family are slow-moving, bottom-dwelling ambush predators that have venomous spines for defence. The estuarine stonefish occurs in a number of different habitats including seagrass beds, bare sedimentary environments, reefs and man-made structures (e.g. rock walls). Don’t fall into the trap of thinking they only hang around rocky areas. I have even encountered one alive and kicking washed up on the surf beach of North Stradbroke Island.
The venom apparatus of the stonefish consists of 13 dorsal spines, three anal spines, and two pelvic spines and their associated venom glands and sheaths. The venom glands are bulbous structures situated around each spine. The upper part of the venom gland is elongated to form a venom duct which runs along the spine and opens at the tip.
Stonefish can survive for up to 24 hours out of the water. If they get stranded out of the water on a tidal flat, they simply make themselves comfortable and wait for the tide to come in. Many stonefish envenomations result from stepping on the dorsal spines of the unseen animal, or by handling the animal to remove it from the hook or from a net. They take bait or lures and even stray into the occasional crab pot. They are not a good sportfish…….
Under no circumstances should a stonefish be deliberately handled.
An envenomation is accompanied by excruciating local pain and rapid swelling of an envenomated limb that peaks around 60 to 90 minutes after the incident and can persist for up to 12 hours if untreated. The severity of pain may lead to unconsciousness. Treatment is by the immersion of the wound in hot water as the heat inactivates the venom, adequate pain relief and the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics to prevent secondary infections.
Take care out in the water this summer and seek medical treatment for any serious fish envenomations!
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