Coffs Harbour April 2011 - Mark Kallman

Close of 2010/2011 Season

As I sit and write this article at the dining room table, I look out over Korora Bay and am greeted by the sight of lots of foamy surf and dirty brown water. Has our season come to an end? The season this year has been short but bountiful. Lots of ‘couta were taken, thanks in a large part to a relaxation of boundaries around Groper Island. This has freed up an area very close to shore, 15 minutes on a surf-ski and 3 minutes on a boat, from an easy protected launch site. The area has consistently delivered many ‘couta but some pretty good demersals too. It proved to be a year of extreme weather events as you would have seen on TV but these must be seen as coincidental and one should be looking favourably toward the next season.

Global Warming

It is amazing to see how the popular press has turned this into fact with evidence cited like the flooding in New Orleans (built 2m below sea level? Am I the only person who understands that it was always going to happen) to the extensive flooding and cyclone in Queensland (far north Queensland has several cyclones every year and the dams built in the Brisbane river were done to protect against flooding, so the occurrences are not new or unusual) to the greatly divergent weather systems ‘El Nino’ and ‘La Nina’. Funnily enough I recall a bible story of Joseph interpreting the Pharaoh’s dream to being a prediction of 7 bountiful years followed by 7 lean years. Was he an imaginative dream interpreter or an astute observer of weather patterns? Our weather observations are not new and insightful, just rehashes of old observations. When I started High school in the late seventies, we were being told to prepare for a new ice age as the earth cooled; 20 years later apparently the earth is warming. Face it, if you are a spearo and rely on weather prediction for the following day, you will have realised they are about as effective as a monkey throwing darts at a dart board, so how accurate are these long term predictions going to be. It still brings a smile to my face when I think about the first time cyclone Yasi was first reported on, it was expected to be small and not make landfall. Turned out to be the largest cyclone on record and did the most damage. Stop worrying about global warming and rising carbon levels. Continue to do the right thing by the environment i.e. reduce, recycle, re-use but stop worrying.

Winter Diving

I was chatting to my brother, Andrew, who had a great time down at Park Rynie recently. Some good snoek and crays, for me a good shore-dive will be 2-4 crays depending on species. Our bag limits are very small but we also have perlemoen and that should improve too. Through the season, many good kob were landed on rock-hops and winter should be great as this is traditionally the time to target them. Judging by the water temperature, it will be necessary to move to the 5mm suit and heavier weights.

Flashers

I remember reading an article on improving your catch which went along the lines of always having a flasher with you to entice and stimulate fish interest. A chicken float and another length of line to tangle and create hassles, not worth it you say? In Australia it has almost become law to have a rigline and float with a flag on your float and several divers have taken to fashioning a small flasher that is easily attached to the rigline close enough for it to be easy to use. The flasher has 4 or 5 shiny things (pieces of mirror, squid skirts or couta dusters) with a heavy object at the end. The last object should not be heavy enough to become a nuisance but heavy enough to allow you to use the flasher effectively; this will depend on trial and error. I usually use a Halco GT jig. The setup is short 1- 1.5m long and I have found that by slipping aquarium tubing over the nylon between your lures, far less tangles occur. It is attached to the rigline using a couta clip. The great thing with this is that the flasher is close enough to you on the surface to attract pelagics and close enough to arouse the interest of demersals when you are on the bottom. So you say you have invested in one of the Rob Allen dangly things so it probably won’t work? Wrong, rig it short but get yourself a small foam float, about the size that used to be used in a cistern of a flushing toilet. The float can be threaded onto your rigline and the couta clip then clips on the line on either side of the float.