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Gone Fishing - February 2013

Hi Folks, well the wind finally turned to its winter direction from the north, bringing cooler temperatures at night, drier weather and very poor air quality from China.


However I think it is too late to bring the big shoals of horse mackerel into the Gulf. Hopefully the weather pattern settles down for next season.


I am missing going on my boat at 6am for a couple of hours and catching 8+ fish from the dock area. Late last December my fishing buddy Frank and I called it a day at 11.45 am instead of 1.30 pm as we had only caught 3 horse mackerel instead of the usual 30+. That is what the unseasonal weather pattern has done to our fishing.


No problems on Captain Deang’s boat, Scott who could not make that trip missed on a good trip with some fish of various species being caught.



My pet project of trying for some bigger fish (barracuda, spanish mackerel or even a big grouper) using live squid has taken a step forward. I have found out that casting for squid from an anchored boat that two out of every 12 squid die within 30 minutes. Trolling for squid using the small 4hp engine gets more numbers but four out of 12 will die within 30 minutes and if I use the 9.8 hp engine six out of 12 die. The rest will survive at least 36 hours in a converted plastic bin.


I anchor the bin in 20ft of water overnight as at this time of the year the low water is always during the night. Come summer I will be able to keep them in the live well onboard my boat over night.


Also one day I tied the bin only 5ft from the anchor and 10 of the 22 squid died. So the next time I tied the bin 15ft from the anchor and all the squid survived. 



I planned a run out to the reef one mile (1.6kms) south of Koh Krok where I intended anchoring just up tide of the reef in some 35ft of water. I took with me the 12 live squid that had survived and 6 of the biggest squid that had died overnight, ergo they were a bit smelly.


The two rods with live bait (one close to the bottom and one on a float set at about 10 ft deep) did not even get a nibble all morning. Such is fishing. Also I put down a bottom rig to knock out some smaller fish while I waited for a bite on the live baited rods. Even the bottom bite was not as normal and I wondered if the unseasonal weather was effecting these fish as well. I got a few small groupers and 10 streaked spinefoot over a two-hour period.


When the smelly bait ran out I cut up one of the live squid (with no bite I still had six left) and what a surprise. No sooner had the rig hit the bottom when I got two candy striped fish and it was like that for the next 30 minutes. I will not be using smelly squid as bottom bait again. It's all a learning curve!



I went again to the reef a week later. I put out a rod with a live fish on it. It was out all the time I was there and did not get a sniff of a big fish. However my small rod, an uglystick 2lb - 6lb with 12lb braid and 12lb fluorocarbon traces did very well. I knocked out some 12 streaked spinefoot, 4 russel snappers, 4 horse mackerel and an assortment of 15 other reef fish with a weight of 5.5 kgs.


In the middle of the action I locked onto the bottom. Just as I was wondering just how much gear I was going to lose, the bottom  gave a thump and started to move south with the tide. The fish moved slowly but powerfully, taking line and I gave thanks that I had set my drag just above the level of striking as the rod was bent at a 90-degree angle. Finally after some 10 minutes of rod bending around the boat I netted a 1.7kgs bat fish. What an excellent four hours out: 7.2kgs of fish, anchor came up sweet as a nut, I used one litre of gasoline, lost two hooks and had a fish that pushed my light rig to its limits. It does not get any better than that!



Streaky spinefoot on the chart (some Aussies say it is like a rabbits foot) has to be handled with great care. All of its spines contain a toxin that will have you in great discomfort (agony) and pain for two hours, and then it will slowly wear off. It will be an end to your fishing day, that's for certain. Frank my fishing buddy has been jabbed twice by these fish and says he would rather take a full blown kick to his balls than go through that experience again.


The locals fish for these close to the dock using a ball of sticky rice and a large treble hook 2 inches below. When the fish starts to eat the rice they will strike and foul hook the fish. A stiff rod and heavy line are the usual equipment, a bit unsporting but given the fish will try to powerfully dash  beneath the dock where the sharp coral will zip through your line, perhaps it's the only way to put fish on the dining table. Even with a normal bottom rig I manage to foul hook some of them as their mouths are very small. The locals stand on the fish when they remove the hook. On the boat I do not put them in the live well, but let them die and then using scissors, remove all the spines before putting them on ice.


The usual, if you want any info on tackle shops etc or you want to share your photo's of fish, what you have been catching lately (or not), shore fishing or boat fishing, my email is or 0808356945. Have fun.