The last piece of the winter fish puzzle has arrived, during the last week reports of tailor have come in from all over. The best place to catch these sharp toothed beasts is the surf beach. Anywhere from Skirmish Point to the top end of the surf beach have seen reports of good sized fish. There has also been fish caught in the passage too but it’s still early days and the numbers will improve as the cold nights continue. Some of the better places in the passage for tailor are Turner’s Camp Road and the mouth of Pacific Harbour canal. Their size limit is 35 cm and bag limit is 20.
Down the southern end of the passage and the surf have seen only winter whiting caught recently, which is standard for this time of the year. I have seen some photos of summer whiting coming from the middle sections of the passage, so if you want to chase summeries head up around the Mission Point, Donnybrook area as that is where they tend to hide out the winter. The Cockle Banks is also firing at the moment with bag limits of the tasty whiting easily taken. There is no size limit on winter whiting and their bag limit is 50.
Snapper have also popped up in the usual places this week completing the trifecta of winter species. The rocky ledge that runs from the mouth of Pacific Harbour to White Patch seems to be the pick of the spots but they have been reported all through the passage from the Bongaree Jetty to well past White Patch. Snapper have a slightly tricky bag and size limit which we all need to know at this early stage as this is when the bigger fish can be caught. Their minimum is 35cm with a bag limit of 4 but only one of those 4 can be over 70 cm. This was bought in a few years ago to help with decreasing snapper numbers. This way breeding females (fish over 70 cm) are left in the system to breed.
The same thing happens with flathead and this week we have seen a couple of big females landed and released. One fish was 80 cm and the other was 82cm. With flathead, no fish over 75 cm can be taken. This has worked and we have a year round healthy flathead fishery. This is only for dusky flathead which is the main fish we get in the passage. There are a couple of species of flathead which this doesn’t apply to but they are usually a smaller species and rarely get to those sizes. Even so with all species of flathead if the fish is 75 cm it is a breeding female so needs to be released.