Drop in temperature turns us into sooks on water

FISHING in this region at this time of the year does have its bonuses and maybe some minuses as many of us have turned into sooky la las from having such a beautiful climate for 80% of the year, and then we get this bitterly (I use this term very loosely) cold snap where the air temperature not 10km from the coast plummets to a freezing five degrees and it goes right through us.

Now coming from the deep south of NZ, one would think I am used to the cold, but after 33 years living here, I too have turned into a sooky la la.

The sea temp doesn't really alter all that much, but it's subtle enough to trigger many things, like spawning.

At present the bream, mullet, and a few other species are fat as anything.

This is because the ladies are full of roe (eggs), or in mullet terms some refer to it as "bottarga", and the lads are also ready to fire.

So when you are catching the likes of the bream make sure you handle it very carefully if you are not planning to keep it.

This is the most prolific species we have in our region and we need this to continue.

There are now a lot with tags in them from the recent HookUp and also from many other events over the years.

If you do catch a fish with a tag in it, please either record the number of the tag and measure it if you are returning it to the water or simply pull the tag and record its measurements for when you send in the info to by simply calling 1800 077 001.

The likes of mullet will certainly school up and they do form a significant contribution to commercial fisherman income so hence we do see them netting this species as they school up.

The bottarga, or roe of the mullet, is very popular as a delicacy here and overseas.

My guess is that because they are so full at the moment they could be aiming for the full moon to do their business.

Later in the year we do have two reef fin fish closures, which hinge around the new moon lunar cycle of October, and November, as many of the reef species will spawn during these times.

With coral trout gathering at certain spots on the reef, called aggregation zones, for this major event the reef is closed for fishing, to help them do their business without us sitting on top of them pulling them out one after the other.

So just keep it in the back of your mind if you are out chasing a feed in the local systems.

It certainly looks as though this weekend will be one of those where you stick close to the sheltered area.

One sheltered area, which I believe goes under the radar, is in fact, Auckland Creek.

This little system is littered with structure, and habitat, where big predator species will hang out like barra, fingermark, and mangrove jack.

Simply live baiting or flicking some hard bodied or soft plastic lures around some of the obstacles will certainly yield a great feed.

The likes of the major wharves and jetties in the harbour where the ships berth are virtually out of bounds for security reasons but this wee gem of a creek has all of that but in a micro scale.

The mudflats at the entrance also hold up some good flathead at times on an incoming tide.

Give it a burst.

Finally, don't forget to take some excellent photos of the fish just out of the water with the lure still in its gob, you with a grin only a gobful of lemons would remove and a bit of background to show the conditions… no big shadows across the subject!

Hash tag it #visitgladstone when you put it on Facebook, Instagram or any of the others websites.

Have a cracker weekend and we might see you down at BAM tomorrow.

Go the Highlanders!